Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $63,705)
The Montana Board of Crime Control (MBCC) acting as the applicant and fiduciary agency and in partnership with the Montana Department Justice aims to provide the resources necessary for the accurate and timely processing of evidence associated with crime and crime scenes. The Montana Department of Justice Forensic Science Division Laboratory is accredited by the international testing standard by the American Society of Crime Lab Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (accreditation number: ALI-159-T) and is the sole source of forensic services in the state. The State Medical Examiners Office is also part of the laboratory. The project goal is to ensure a well trained staff of forensic scientists and medical examiners that can continue to reduce the backlog of forensic cases and maintain the high standards related to accurate and timely processing of evidence. MBCC requests funding of $65,151 to continue support of the Forensic Science Division in meeting this goal. The three objectives for this funding request include: (1) maintain a half time forensic chemist position to help with toxicology case turn-around times and backlogs; (2) provide continuing education for our forensic science staff in order to maintain the quality of services and, when practicable, the advancement of forensic services; and, (3) to continue to fund maintenance for our laboratory information management system. Funding for the part-time Forensic Chemist will support salary and fringe benefits associated with that position. Funding for continuing education for forensic scientists will support participation at the 2016 American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting for three scientists and the 2016 International Association for Identification meeting for two scientists. Finally, the forensic laboratory makes great use of its laboratory information management system to help generate data regarding case work load, case turn-around times, and backlogs. The laboratory also uses this system to write reports and to maintain the chain of custody for evidence throughout the laboratory. Requested funding will be used to support the annual maintenance fee that ensures the system is current and reliable. Permission is granted to the Office of Justice Programs to share this project abstract (including contact information) with the public.