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FY2015 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $114,110)

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) is the State Administrative Agency for the Forensic Science Formula Grant Program. Prior to FY2005, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) received the entirety of the Forensic Science funds. SLED provides the criminal justice community with a full-service state of the art forensic laboratory and is tasked with analyzing samples submitted by law enforcement agencies and coroner's offices throughout the state. To assist regional forensic laboratories that provide forensic services to surrounding law enforcement agencies, SCDPS expanded the solicitation beginning in FY2005 to include all forensic labs that would be eligible under the guidelines. The need to decrease the number of backlogged cases at SLED, as well as in regional laboratories, is evidenced by the number of cases that have not been processed. SLED processes approximately 56,487 items of evidence yearly. As of October 1, 2014, SLED had a non-DNA backlog of 4,117 cases in eight separate forensic departments. When DNA cases are included, the backlog increases to 11,163. Based on the needs of the individual departments, overtime hours and/or equipment will be needed to reduce these backlogs. Regional laboratories are also experiencing backlogs due to the number of cases they are receiving from local law enforcement agencies in their areas. These laboratories typically have one chemist who is responsible for all forensic cases processed. With the increase in drug arrests in the regions where these facilities exist, more cases are being sent directly to these labs rather than SLED and they are now beginning to experience backlogs as well. These labs strive to process all drug cases within a week to ten days, but this tum-aroundtime has now increased due to the influx of cases. All forensic labs strive to increase productivity and efficiency. To accomplish this, laboratories must purchase instrumentation in keeping with current technology standards. Upgrading old and out-dated equipment will allow for the more rapid processing of evidence, faster case turn around and quicker apprehension, prosecution and conviction of criminal subjects. Project Goals and Objectives (1) To reduce the number of backlogged cases in the SLED forensic laboratory by 50%. (2) To reduce the number of backlogged cases in regional forensic laboratories by 50%. (3) Acquire and install equipment in forensic laboratories to reduce backlogs, as well as, increase the productivity of cases processed.


Date Created: September 1, 2015