Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $150,000)
The Vermont Forensic Laboratory (VFL) is located in the Division of Criminal Justice Services in the Department of Public Safety. The VFL is responsible for providing DNA analysis of evidentiary material associated with criminal investigations for all state and local law enforcement agencies and medical examiners within the state of Vermont.
The VFL is the only forensic laboratory performing DNA analysis in Vermont. The Statutes of Vermont designate the VFL as the agency responsible for conducting DNA analysis on DNA samples collected from all convicted felons and some misdemeanor offenders in the state of Vermont; the VFL is responsible for storing and maintaining the resultant profiles in the Vermont DNA Data Bank, and uploading qualifying samples to COOlS.
In recent years, the VFL has faced staffing and budgetary constraints. This has placed a burden on both the database and case working sections to maximize workloads. The laboratory hopes to continue the employment of a grant funded DNA analyst position.
At the present time there are no state funded positions available to fund that position. The lab is struggling with vacancies and some positions have been eliminated. This results in significant backlogs in both casework and database sections. The Federal funding from this award will assist in giving analysts more time and supplies to process casework and database samples. This award will be specifically used for the following goals:
1. Reduce the backlog of forensic biology/DNA cases through the use of supplies, overtime and with the grant funded analyst position.
2. Reduce the backlog of DNA database samples through the use of overtime and supplies.
3. Maintain stability of the VFL DNA laboratory through funding of a maintenance/service contract for the capillary electrophoresis instrument.
The VFL expects to analyze at least 140 forensic DNA cases over the period of the grant funding through the efforts of the DNA qualified grant funded analyst as well as 25 cases worked on an overtime basis with supplies purchased with grant funds. In addition, the VFL anticipates processing at least 600 DNA database samples using a combination of overtime and supplies purchased with grant funds.
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