Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $69,161)
Problem Description: The Sedgwick County Regional Forensic Science Center (SCRFSC) serves as the Crime Laboratory and Medical Examiners Office for all of Sedgwick County Kansas Law Enforcement agencies and provides forensic services to many of the contiguous counties. The SCRFSC is staffed with 37 scientists, medical examiner staff, and technicians. A significant challenge is the aging analytical infrastructure and the inability to acquire replacement and/or new technology that will allow the laboratory to, at a minimum, maintain a flat case backlog. The maintenance of the analytical infrastructure may be achieved through the acquisition of equipment and software with this grant funding, allowing the laboratory to address this critical challenge and provide some relief to the backlog. The Johnson County Sheriffs Office Criminalistics Laboratory (JCCL) is an ASCLD/LAB-International accredited forensic science laboratory serving all law enforcement and fire agencies within the county. The Biology section is looking to upgrade technology, improve quality, and increase operational efficiency and effectiveness. Grant funds are requested to supplement the purchase of a bench-top automated DNA purification instrument. This equipment will improve forensic DNA testing efficiency and effectiveness by automating the DNA purification process. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation Forensic Science Laboratory (KBI) is currently in the process of hiring 10-12 new forensic scientists. The intended use of these grant funds is to provide opportunities for new scientists and other laboratory staff to attend training conferences and discipline-specific training to increase job knowledge and remain current with new technology. The grant funding will also assist certified forensic scientists with training opportunities to meet minimal continuing education hours to maintain certification requirements. Project Goals: Goal 1 Maintain service contract and preventative maintenance program for equipment. Goal 2 Forensic DNA testing by automating the DNA purification process. Goal 3 Train forensic scientists and offer continuing education hours for certification.