Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $190,222)
The Center for Forensic Sciences - Forensic Laboratories, a bureau organizationally located within the Onondaga County Health Department, include the disciplines of Latent Prints, Forensic Biology, Controlled Substances, Fire Debris, Firearms, and Digital Evidence. Law enforcement agencies throughout the County submit evidence for analysis and testimony is provided as necessary. The Forensic Biology section consists of four casework analysts and one casework supervisor.
The Forensic Biology section will use this award to fund overtime hours for analysts to increase throughput by increasing total bench hours. The grant will also provide funding for supplies used by analysts working on those overtime hours. It is expected that the analysts will work at least 32 cases with the supply and overtime funding from this award.
Grant funds will be used to purchase mandated proficiency tests and to send casework analysts to national conferences/symposia, both to meet accreditation requirements. The section will also purchase equipment that will improve the analytical process by enhancing the visual searches for biological matter on evidence, extracting a better sample from evidence, and providing contamination free workstations to work within.
The FBI is in the process of expanding the core loci used in the CODIS database to twenty. The amplification kits currently used are based on the established core of 13 loci. The section will be evaluating various new kits for use with a newly purchased genetic analyzer and when a choice is made, validation of the kit and analyzer will commence. The validation will be performed by a contracted vendor to allow analysts to continue working on casework, maintaining the throughput of the section. The grant will fund both the supplies for validation and the contract with a vendor for validation services.
Additionally, the section will use the funding to purchase licenses for a probabilistic genotyping software package that the laboratory is currently validating. The purpose of this software will be to interpret complex mixtures of two or more individuals, allowing the laboratory to obtain additional data that is currently unavailable. The use of probabilistic genotyping software will produce standardized and uniform results from complex mixtures, which will reduce both analysis and technical review time, enabling the laboratory to interpret mixture samples more efficiently.
The funding from this grant will enable the Forensic Biology section to complete its plan to maintain or increase case throughput (capacity) and the quality of analysis, while reducing case backlog.
- NIST/Office of Law Enforcement Standards funding for two projects associated with E-Crime technology portfolio, Computer Forensic Tool Testing and National Software Reference Library
- Amino Acid Specific Stable Isotope Ratios in Human Keratin Tissue for Region-of-Origin and Residency Determination
- Indigenous-led Research on Sex Trafficking among Native Americans in the Northern Great Plains