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Orlando Police Department ForensicLaboratory Equipment Upgrade

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $174,963)

The Orlando Police Department’s (OPD) Technology and Forensics Unit (TFU) includes an in-house digital forensic laboratory and physical forensic laboratory that collects evidence from crime scenes, processes latent prints, and conducts firearms testing and blood stain pattern analysis. Grant funding will be used to purchase equipment to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science within both of these labs. OPD’s Digital Forensic Lab is one of the busiest in Central Florida. In addition to providing examinations for cases in the City of Orlando, this lab assists many other local and federal agencies including the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Attorney General’s Office, FBI and DEA. OPD also assists with homicide investigations for agencies on the Joint Homicide Investigation Team (JHIT), which is a collaboration involving 10 local law enforcement agencies. As part of JHIT, OPD’s crime scene investigators collected and processed evidence for 42 homicides during the last two years. In the last six years, the Digital Forensic Lab has seen an 825% increase in the number of devices submitted for examination. This lab’s current equipment is inadequate to meet this demand, and has contributed to a back log of 50 examinations comprising 234 devices. OPD’s Forensic Lab also has a back log, at an average of 120 cases. During CY2014, crime scene investigators responded to 2,398 crime scenes. The most common type of evidence collected is latent prints, with 7,358 latent print cards submitted last year. Much of the equipment used to process latent prints is outdated and inefficient; some items are more than 20 years old. Other equipment, including the bullet trap used to test firearms, is also outdated, contributing to inefficiencies in the lab. To improve workflow and ensure the preservation of evidence within the Digital Forensic Lab, funding will be used to purchase high speed forensic imaging hardware and a Faraday radio frequency blocking room. Within the Forensic Lab, proposed equipment includes cyanoacrylate fuming chambers, a steady state chamber, air fume hoods, a bullet trap, evidence lockers, and a copy stand and forensic light source. The proposed equipment is anticipated to have a significant impact on reducing OPD’s evidence back log, and will greatly improve the quality and timeliness of this agency’s forensic results. The addition of three new cyanoacrylate tanks alone is anticipated to reduce the time spent developing latent prints by at least 50%. ca/ncf
Date Created: September 13, 2015