Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $2,996,548)
Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), as mandated by Chapter 943 Florida Statutes, operates a statewide forensic crime laboratory system to provide timely, expert and professional examination of evidentiary materials to aid in the investigation, prosecution and exclusion of criminal offenses in the state of Florida. The Biology/DNA needs of Floridas criminal justice community are serviced by a network of FDLE laboratories and five local laboratories that comprise the Florida crime laboratory system. FDLE has six internationally accredited DNA laboratories that provide Biology/ DNA analysis services.
The heavy demand for Biology services continued in 2014, with over 25,000 Biology cases released. The large volume of cases have been attributed to a number of factors including Floridas 19 million population and continued high volume of reported crime (698,607 index crimes as of last available report in 2013).
With funding provided under this award, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement plans to achieve a reduction in the forensic DNA case backlog, an increase in DNA analysis throughput, an increase in laboratory capacity, and the continuing education for analysts.
In order to reduce the DNA case backlog, the FDLE will fund overtime and supplies to be used for in-house casework as well as outsource casework to private accredited laboratories. DNA analysis throughput will be increased by funding overtime for laboratory personnel and employing three temporary Forensic Technologists for case management. The FDLE proposes to increase laboratory capacity by continuing its path towards laboratory automation with the purchase of seven Qiagen QiaCube robotic workstations.
Capacity will also be increased with overtime used to perform case work screenings and analysis. In order to assist analysts with interpretations of DNA data from simple and complex mixtures, the FDLE would like to purchase software that will be used statewide in order to infer genetic profiles from mixed DNA samples. Finally, as a goal is to provide continuing education for analysts, the FDLE plans to provide reasonable travel expenses and registration costs for training and conferences associated with the Biology/DNA discipline.