Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $913,390)
The Virginia Department of Forensic Science (DFS) is responsible for analyzing evidential material associated with criminal investigations upon request by any state or local law enforcement agency, Commonwealth's Attorney or medical examiner in the Commonwealth of Virginia. DFS is also responsible for receiving and analyzing DNA samples collected from Virginia's convicted felons and certain arrestees for inclusion, storage and maintenance in the Virginia DNA data bank. Since July 1, 2011, state law also requires DNA sample collection from individuals convicted of certain misdemeanor sex offenses. In 2015, the law was expanded to include DNA sample collections from certain misdemeanor convictions.
1. Maintain the current personnel capacity of the Forensic Biology Section by continuing to fund five forensic scientist positions and two support positions: one full-time forensic laboratory specialist position in casework and one laboratory assistant in the DNA data bank.
2. Increase capacity in the DNA case work section by purchasing computer software that will allow the DNA examiners to calculate additional DNA mixture statistics for positive associations in forensic DNA case work.
3. Provide the required continuing education for forensic scientists in the Forensic Biology Section.
Goal 1 - Maintain Personnel Capacity
The continued funding for five grant-funded forensic scientist positions and the two grant-funded laboratory support positions will enable the section to maintain current capacity. The scientists, working in conjunction with the forensic laboratory specialist, are expected to complete approximately 675 cases over and above what the section as a whole would complete without them. The continued funding of the grant-funded data bank support position will enable the section to maintain current capacity. This person, along with the data bank analysts, process approximately 1,400 samples a month.
Goal 2 - DNA Software Purchase
Purchase 4 copies of the STRmix software. This software allows for the calculation of statistical estimates regarding how common or how rare the DNA type would be in the general population. This calculation is required for all positive associations. The calculation using this software is quick and allows for uniformity in conducting these types of calculations statewide.
Goal 3 - Continuing Education of DNA Scientists
DNA Forensic Scientists are required to receive continuing education on a yearly basis, in accordance with the FBI Quality Assurance Standards. Funds from this program will pay for continuing education following state and federal guidelines, assisting DFS in maintaining fully-qualified DNA staff.