Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $312,793)
The Forensic Biology Unit (FBU) of the Palm Beach County Sheriffs Office Crime Laboratory is responsible for analyzing evidentiary material associated with criminal investigations for over 28 municipalities, the school systems and local Federal agencies as needed. As the primary agency conducting DNA analysis for Palm Beach County it is of the utmost importance that the FBU provide efficient and timely processing of all evidence. In March of 2016 Florida Senate Bill 636 was passed into law requiring the testing of all sexual assault kits within 120 days of submission to the laboratory.
Since its enactment the FBU has experienced:
A 58% increase in sexual assault case requests
A 40% increase in screening sexual assault evidence
A 52% increase in sexual assault autosomal DNA analysis
A 70% increase in Y-STR DNA analysis of sexual assault evidence
In order to address these increases the FBU is proposing to again obtain funding for two full-time Forensic Scientists through the CEBR program whose responsibilities include the handling, screening and collection of evidence for downstream DNA analysis. In addition, the FBU would also contract with Marshall University for a Technical Assistance Program intern. The intern, who will be prepared in FBU methodologies prior to the internship, will complete a laboratory directed validation project.
The overarching goal of this proposal is to decrease the existing turnaround times that the laboratory had established prior to the passage of SB 636. The citizens of Palm Beach County have been and will continue to be provided with fully validated technologies and methodologies in forensic DNA analysis in order to provide the highest quality casework and prevent future DNA backlogs. The Federal funding from this award will help the laboratory increase capacity as well as implement a more streamlined workflow through additional validation work. As a result of funding from this grant the PBSO FBU expects to be able to continue its quest to reduce turnaround time by increasing the focus time available for casework through the addition of two staff members and the use of a trained intern, ultimately reducing the number of cases on the laboratorys backlog. NCA/NCF