Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $190,980)
The Rhode Island Department of Health Forensic Sciences Laboratory (RIDOH-FSL) serves the entire state of Rhode Island, with a population of approximately 1 million. Agencies served include state and municipal police, the Office of the State Medical Examiner, Attorney General, and other law enforcement agencies. The laboratory is divided into four sections: Drug Chemistry, Forensic Toxicology, Breath Analysis, and Forensic Biology/CODIS. The Laboratory is the sole Forensic DNA laboratory and CODIS site in the state, and is in good standing with CODIS and NDIS. Casework is submitted by more than 40 stakeholders. Database collections are currently carried out by RIDOH-FSL staff at the RI Adult Corrections Institution, and a separate probation collection office. Effective July 1, 2015, RIGL 12-1.5 will take effect, authorizing the State and local law enforcement officers to collect arrestee samples for inclusion in CODIS. The qualifying offenses are violent crime arrestees. The Laboratory is accredited under ISO 17025 standards by Forensic Quality Services, Inc, and undergoes external audits every two years as required by the FBI's DNA Quality Assurance Standards. In keeping with the purposes of the Katie Sepich Enhanced DNA Collection Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-253) we propose to develop the infrastructure and processes needed to implement and sustain RI's arrestee DNA collection program.
To that end, the federal funding from this award will help achieve the following goals and objectives:
a) Provide essential communication between the RI Office of the Attorney General and the Laboratory by funding a paralegal for the grant period;
b) Provide uninterrupted database laboratory throughput by purchasing the amplification kits necessary for the processing of arrestees;
c) Provide law enforcement agencies with the necessary items to sample arrestees by purchasing buccal swab collection kits for distribution;
d) Provide training for law enforcement personnel by purchasing educational supplies for distribution and use in training sessions;
e) Monitor and provide performance measures to the RI Director of Health and National Institute of Justice through software modifications to our LIMS system;
f) Pool the knowledge and services of all stakeholders through formation of a working group.
At the end of the project period, we expect to have processed at least 1,950 arrestee samples and upload them to NDIS. Through both the paralegal and the working group, we will partner with the RI Office of the Attorney General, the Court and the RI Police Chiefs Association in order to ensure successful implementation of this program. ca/ncf