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FY2015 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $63,705)

The Office of Justice Grants Administration (JGA) is the District of Columbia's State Administering Agency (SAA) for the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program. JGA in collaboration with the Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) requests $61,932 to focus on improving the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner services.The JGA will contract services to DFS which is the District's agency tasked with a forensic science laboratory, crime scene sciences, and public health laboratory services. Within the DFS are the Latent Fingerprint (LFU) and Firearm Examination (FEU) Units. Both units experience a heavy volume of case submissions that contribute to a backlog. Of the current submissions in the LFU, approximately 90% do not have analysis requests associated with them and have been submitted to the laboratory for storage and management purposes. A significant number of firearm cases in the backlog have been adjudicated or had the investigation terminated, but the laboratory has not been officially notified of the change in case status. These cases remain in the FEU queue and therefore contribute to the number of backlogged cases and the average turnaround time. In order to address these issues, the DFS is requesting salary and travel for one (1) part time Forensic Science Technician to develop a management and storage system for the LFU submissions that do not have requests for analysis. In addition, the JGA will contract with the OCME to obtain continuing medical education and trainings for staff to improve the quality and timeliness of services and augment the agency's knowledge base. Funds will be used to assist with sending 7 scientific staff to 1 three, trade specific, forensic workshops and conferences. Scientific staff will consist of medical examiners, forensic photographers, and forensic toxicologists. These training opportunities offer multiple accredited workshops which address pathology, scene investigation, and toxicology. Training obtained will be used to maintain certifications and licenses (both individual and laboratory), to educate other professionals within OCME, and to inform other local government agencies about medical legal death investigation. Continuing education and seminars provided by these workshops can help to improve OCME's overall efficiency and quality of service. In addition, education often leads to innovation or implementation of new techniques or strategies which can reduce backlogs and turnaround time. nca/ncf
Date Created: September 22, 2015