Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $314,430)
(BASE) *Maryland is the 8th most violent state in the United States, with the 4th highest murder rate and the 2nd highest robbery rate in the country, and is also above the national average in overall crime. Marylands forensic crime laboratories suffer from lack of financial support to replace or procure much needed equipment, attend the necessary trainings to maintain their accreditation status, and support personnel to dedicate additional hours to work on backlogs within their respective forensic laboratories.
* The goal is to reduce the backlogs and to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic and medical examiner's services.
*This will be accomplished with the support of Coverdell funds to purchase much needed equipment, obtain needed training to stay abreast with the latest technology, to remain ASC/LAB accredited, and to provide salary support for overtime in both the Latent Print and Firearms Divisions.
* The Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention is the State Administering Agency of Coverdell funds and will distribute and manage these funds to five Forensic Crime laboratories and the Chief Medical Examiner's Office. All of the agencies who receive Coverdell funds partner with each other. Sharing data and trainings have proven beneficial to Maryland.
* It is anticipated that with Coverdell Support, the State of Maryland will be able to reduce backlogs, obtain training to remain accredited, and procure needed equipment to improve forensic services statewide.
(COMPETITIVE) The Governors Office of Crime Control & Prevention (GOCCP) being the State Administering Agency (SAA) for the State of Maryland, is respectfully submitting this application on behalf of the Maryland State Police-Forensic Science Division (MSP-FSD).
The Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) casework backlog at MSP-FSD has been a problem for a long time. In order to meet the needs of our clients it is necessary to analyze cases based on court dates rather than simply processing cases as they come into the laboratory. This "rush case" management style simply perpetuates the backlog by causing delays to other cases which will then need to be deemed rushes. The keys to eliminating a backlog are streamlining case submissions, increasing the number of cases completed, and reducing the number of cases received. MSP-FSD finds itself in a unique position of having a significantly reduced number of cases being submitted since Maryland established a new law on October 1, 2014 making the possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana a civil offense rather than a criminal offense. Therefore, funds are requested for contractual Evidence Control Technicians to help reduce the amount of time it takes to receive a case at the laboratory. Funds are also requested for implementing Raman technology and a LIMS instrument interface in order to increase efficiency resulting in more cases being completed. Not only will this project result in the elimination of the current CDS casework backlog, but it will allow for the reallocation of six total CDS forensic scientists currently performing analysis to better benefit the agency. Three of the reallocated staff will be used to establish case management and technology evaluation infrastructure within the CDS Unit to ensure that the backlog does not return. The other three reallocated staff will be transferred to other units at MSP-FSD in need of additional manpower.