Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $208,086)
The geographic location of Fresno County is approximately an equal distance between the major metropolitan areas of San Francisco and Los Angeles in the Central San Joaquin Valley. From east to west, the County's boundaries extend 135 miles, encompassing a geographical area of 6,007 square miles with the Coast Mountain Range to the west and the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range to the east. Fresno County has a population of 900,348 that is expected to grow 3.4% annually in the future.
The Fresno County Sheriffs Department Forensic Laboratory provides services for the Fresno County Sheriffs Office. The forensic laboratory has two Criminalists that are trained and qualified to perform STR analysis and currently two more are in our DNA training program. Due to staffing needs and the growing demand for DNA analysis, the Fresno County Sheriffs Department Forensic Laboratory needs to find a way to reduce backlogged DNA casework and increase our capacity. The Sheriffs Department has over 20 unsolved homicide/rape cases that need to be examined for potential DNA evidence. DNA cases can take three to five month from request to final report, due to the size of our staff and non-efficient equipment. The forensic laboratory is seeking $208,086 in federal funds to decrease the backlog of cases from the DNA unit and purchase updated equipment to increase the capacity of the DNA unit. This will be accomplished by using grant funds to purchase two microscope systems, four mini-centrifuges, two electronic balances for evidence examination, continued employment a part time grant funded forensic laboratory technician to process DNA kits, send four DNA analysts to the AAFS conference, and using funds to send backlogged cases to fee for services vendors to reduce our backlogged cases. The result will be a reduction in the number of days from request to issuing final DNA results to our clients and a reduction of in the numbers of backlogged DNA cases.
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