Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $115,395)
The Indian River Crime Laboratory (IRCL) provides scientific and technical services to all state, county, federal and municipal law enforcement agencies within the 19th Judicial Circuit of Florida, and occasionally assists agencies outside the Circuit. The Laboratory is located in the city of Fort Pierce and covers a four county service area of 2,420 square miles, which includes St. Lucie, Indian River, Okeechobee and Martin counties.
Over the past five to ten years, the field of Forensic DNA Analysis has experienced great strides in innovation with additional kit chemistries to improve the reliability in assessing the sample quality, increasing sensitivity and increased informational output. Advances in instrument technology have increased the throughput of samples and in some cases, has greatly reduced the time for analysis. Targeted software innovation has increased the number of samples where information can be gained even in what recently was deemed too complicated. In an effort to keep abreast of these advancements and to meet the FBIs Quality Assurance Standards for education, the IRCL actively pursues opportunities for training and peer networking to expand knowledge and experience input to prepare and implement these advancements in the laboratory.
In November 2014, the FBI announced a timeline for instituting an expansion of the CODIS core loci required for NDIS participation. Currently, the Laboratory is performing casework on instrumentation that is five years old or more. Manufacturers of emerging technology / chemistries have indicated that our current instruments and workstations need to be upgraded in both hardware and software to accommodate the changes associated with the multiplexing of extra loci. Before the improved testing kits can be implemented for use in casework, a thorough in-house validation must be performed on the new chemistries using the updated/compatible instrument with accompanying software. The IRCL is requesting funds to update most of its DNA analysis system including quantitation, amplification and separation on a 3500 CE platform, as well as for contracted services to assist in the completion of the in-house validations required prior to use in casework.
The completion of this project is expected to result in the following two goals:
1.Increase the capacity and capabilities of the IRCL Forensic Biology Unit
2.Meet and/or maintain the required annual continuing education for new and existing DNA Analysts for compliance to the FBI DNA Quality Assurance Standards.