Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $276,522)
The forensic science field plays a critical role in crime and justice. Specifically, the application of this science provides criminal justice professionals with scientific information that aids in the investigation and prosecution of criminal matters and furthers public safety. As a vital part to helping ensure public safety and an ever-evolving field, it is imperative that professional staff, including scientists, pathologists and medical examiners are adequately trained and equipped with relevant information, data and resources so that the services provided throughout the state of Ohio are timely and of the highest quality. The focus of this application is to provide funding to 11 state and local entities throughout Ohio that provide forensic science services to criminal justice professionals. The funded entities will work to improve the quality, timeliness and credibility of the services provided. This goal will be achieved through the following activities: 1.) Attendance and participation at relevant trainings/conferences/meetings in order to obtain up-to-date information relevant to forensic analysis. 2.) Obtain contractual agreements with professionals for the provision of forensic science services and maintenance of laboratory equipment to enhance quality assurance. 3.) Overtime hours will be worked to reduce the backlog of cases. 4.) Procurement of software licenses and maintenance as well as supplies, including proficiency tests to retain and enhance analytical ability. 5.) Maintain accreditation through the payment of annual fees. Through the FY 2015 Coverdell Program, laboratories and medical examiner/coroner offices in Ohio will be provided with funding that is critical to producing efficient and effective services that impact the productivity of the criminal justice system. Each entity set to receive funding has identified specific objectives pertinent to their agency's needs. While the needs of one agency may differ from the needs of another agency, it is important to note that Ohio convenes a group of key stakeholders that meet on a quarterly basis to discuss forensic science services throughout Ohio. This is an opportunity to share with colleagues and discuss needs so funding priorities can be established.