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Expansion and Development of the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office Forensic Section

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $133,397)

In July of 2013, the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) established an in-house forensic science section with the capability to provide fast and efficient high-demand forensic services to local law enforcement. Over sixty thousand dollars of agency funds have been allocated to begin purchasing equipment and training for the forensic section. Since the inception of the program, the forensic section has completed over one-hundred and twelve (112) forensic work requests. The requests include work in high-demand forensic disciplines such as mobile forensics, crime scenes, latent prints, and video analysis. The Montana State Crime Laboratory either does not provide analysis in the majority of these disciplines or is substantially backlogged. Support from the Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program will provide the funding necessary for the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office to continue developing the forensic section. The following objectives detail areas of crucial development which are outside the budget capabilities of a small agency such as the LCSO:
1) Acquire and maintain an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) to provide investigators with important fingerprint information as quickly as possible including a modern livescan system to assist in the development of a local AFIS database and fully take advantage of upgrades to national AFIS technology.
2) Provide specific crime scene and digital evidence training opportunities to expand crime scene response and to enhance individual skills while keeping current with rapidly expanding and changing digital forensic equipment and practices.
3) Acquire and maintain equipment used to capture, process, and enhance digital forensic data, in particular computer, mobile, and video forensic equipment.
Developing the in-house forensic section will reduce the number of submissions from the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office and neighboring agencies to the Montana State Crime Laboratory. Reducing the number of submissions to the crime lab will result in a reduced state backlog and an increase in the quality and efficiency of local investigations due to the immediate availability of critical forensic information. In addition, a reduction in the number of submissions to the state laboratory from Lewis and Clark County, one of Montana’s larger population areas, will allow the state crime laboratory to reduce the turn-around time on requests for analysis from other areas of the state thereby benefitting all of the law enforcement agencies in Montana.


Date Created: September 22, 2015