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FY15 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction for Washington State Patrol

Award Information

Award #
2015-DN-BX-0047
Funding Category
Formula
Location
Congressional District
Status
Closed
Funding First Awarded
2015
Total funding (to date)
$1,135,917

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $1,135,917)

The Washington State Patrol through the Crime Laboratory Division is responsible for analyzing evidential material associated with criminal investigations for all state and local law enforcement agencies and medical examiners within the state. Under state law (RCW 43.43.756) the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory Division (WSPCLD) is the established public provider of Forensic DNA services in Washington State . There are 5 casework DNA laboratories located throughout the state: Seattle, Tacoma, Marysville, Vancouver and Spokane. The CODIS database lab is also located in the same Seattle facility as the Crime Lab.

Progress was made in 2014 with the filling of all grant funded DNA positions previously awarded. The 3 Laboratory Technicians have all been trained and are performing non-casework tasks freeing up forensic analysts for more casework duties. The Information Technologist is providing network, hardware and software support for the DNA labs. The database analyst completed manual DNA analysis training and was performing CODIS Hit confirmations. However, this analyst is currently on maternity leave. One casework analyst completed her serology training and is helping to screen cases while learning DNA analysis. The other casework analyst is undergoing serology screening training. The 3500 validation was completed and implementation should be complete in all casework labs by the end of June 2015. Pending cases and turnaround times were at historic lows at the end of 2014. In 2015 new State legislation likely to be passed and will cause the number of new sexual assault kits (SAK) submitted for DNA analysis to more than double. There is an expectation that over 6000 previously unsubmitted SAKs will also need DNA analysis. This year the focus of this application will be on expanding analytical capacity to help mitigate the effects of increased SAK case submissions.

This award will be specifically used to achieve the following goals:
1) To implement the new expanded loci DNA typing kits for casework and database labs as mandated by NDIS for continued CODIS program participation.
2) To maintain and increase the capacity of the WSPCLD casework laboratories.
3) To maintain and increase the capacity of the WSPCLD database laboratory.
4) To maintain continuing education for casework and database analysts through attendance at national and regional conferences.

The WSPCLD expects to see the backlog of DNA case requests to increase between 1000 to 6000 at the end of the award period because of newly proposed SAK legislation. An application for SAKI is being prepared by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) to help address the anticipated increase in SAK submissions for DNA analysis. The mean turnaround time is expected to be increased to over 120 days, and DNA analyst throughput in the casework sections is expected to increase another 5%. The WSPCLD expects to decrease the mean turnaround time to 76 days from receipt of CODIS submissions.

nca/ncf.

Date Created: September 21, 2015