Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $87,759)
The City of Fort Worth seeks funding through the FY 2015 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program to enhance services provided by the Fort Worth Police Departments Crime Laboratory (Crime Lab). A total of $87,963.00 is requested to increase the efficiency of Crime Lab operations while also improving quality and timeliness of service. The primary purpose of the proposed project is to improve the capacity and reduce backlogs and turnaround times of the Biology Unit of the FWPD Crime Lab. Specifically funding is requested for the Crime Lab to meet the following objectives:
1. To provide the necessary education and training for Crime Lab personnel to gain/maintain current knowledge and standards within the forensics field, through participation in local, regional, and/or national forensic meetings, consistent with the requirements of the DNA Quality Assurance Standards.
2. To provide necessary DNA sample management software enhancements to the Biology Units sample management software, providing a more efficient way of managing all the worksheets and sample processing documentation required to produce meaningful and reliable DNA reports; streamline the processing and reporting of routine casework; and reduce turnaround time for case processing.
3. To provide validation of new DNA kits to be used in compliance with FBI CODIS requirements effective in 2017. These studies are very time consuming not only in terms of DNA processing, but also in the intense data analysis, statistical analysis, and formal validation write-ups that are required, which will increase in the backlog and turnaround time if performed by existing personnel.
The Crime Lab is located in Fort Worth, TX and provides forensic services to the Fort Worth Police Department (FWPD) and the Tarrant County District Attorneys Office. The FWPD Crime Lab is a multi-discipline crime lab that provides Forensic DNA testing. Key services provided by the Crime Lab include: controlled drug analyses; blood alcohol content (BAC) determinations; firearm and tool mark analyses; latent fingerprinting searches utilizing the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), and AFIX tracker; evidence processing for latent prints and conducting print comparisons; physical evidence screening for the presence of biological and trace evidence; and DNA profiling. In calendar year 2014 the Biology Unit screened and conducted full DNA profiling on 140 cases which were represented by 491 samples. The Crime Lab is fully accredited by the Texas Department of Public Safety (TXDPS) and ASCLD/LAB (International) until August 30, 2016.