Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $133,782)
Mesa Forensic Services is located at 133 N. Morris, Mesa, Arizona. Forensic Services is responsible for the collection and examination of evidence from all types of crimes committed within this community of over 457,000 residents, which is the 38th largest city in the United States. Forensic Services is composed of ten units. The Toxicology, Firearms, Biology, Controlled Substances, Crime Scene, Evidence processing, Latent Print and Quality Assurance Units are accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB - Certificate #231).
The Mesa Forensic Services Biology Unit, consisting of 7 employees is responsible for processing biological evidence from homicides, sexual assaults, burglaries and numerous other crimes. During 2014, members of the unit processed over 1600 samples and prepared over 1500 reports regarding their scientific analyses. The laboratory is a National DNA Index System (NDIS) participant.
The Mesa Forensic Services Biology Unit participates in external audits, not less than once every two years, to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the Quality Assurance Standards established by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The most recent external audits were performed February 9-12, 2015, October 21-22, 2013, August 29, 2011 and May 3-May 6, 2010.
The current (2014) overall average turnaround time for DNA reports is 159 days.
The current (2014) average number of forensic DNA samples analyzed per analyst per month is 67.
The number of Forensic DNA cases not completed as of March 31, 2015 is 487.
The laboratory intends to increase capacity using existing personnel. Federal funding from this award will be used for the following goals:
1. Reduce the backlog of forensic biology/DNA cases.
2. Increase the capacity of the Mesa Police Department Forensic Services Biology Unit.
3. Provide training for DNA analysts.
It is estimated that a minimum of 70 forensic DNA cases can be analyzed within the 24-month award project period using the Federal funding requested under this FY2015 program.
The laboratory expects to reduce the average turnaround time and backlog by 10%. The average turnaround time would be reduced to approximately 143 days and the backlog would be reduced to approximately 438.