Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $132,516)
A grant award under the FY15 DNA Backlog Reduction Program would support ongoing capacity increases in the Forensic Biology/DNA Unit of the Anne Arundel County Police Department Crime Laboratory. Enhanced productivity (case output) and efficiency is expected to reduce the existing case backlog thereby decreasing the overall turnaround times for newly submitted Forensic Biology cases through the following objectives:
i) Retention of a full-time W-2 temporary grant-funded Biology/DNA analyst via salary funding to perform independent DNA casework analyses.
ii) Retention of a full-time W2 temporary grant-funded Biology/DNA laboratory technician via salary funding. This lab tech will assist the Biology Unit with various lab duties (Quality Assurance/Quality Control duties, general housekeeping, reagent preparation, administrative duties, etc.) which will allow analysts to devote more time to case working duties resulting in an increase in case output.
iii) Funding for overtime (approximately 400 hours over the award period) for the DNA unit.
iv) Purchase of laboratory consumables (pipette tips, etc.) for the DNA unit.
First, this award would fund the retention of the (W-2 FTE Chemist II under temporary County contract) forensic analyst to conduct in-house Biology/DNA casework. This individual will be directly involved in the handling and analysis of forensic cases submitted to the Biology/DNA Unit. As an NDIS-participating laboratory, the individual is also responsible for the data entry and/or reviewing of eligible DNA profile data from that casework into CODIS as applicable. The scope of this position also involves peer reviewing Unit case files, participation in quality assurance and control duties both in the Unit and Lab wide as needed and providing expert witness testimony. Other duties as assigned may also be performed.
Secondly, this award would provide funding to retain the Biology/DNA lab tech (W-2 FTE under temporary County contract) to assist the Biology Unit with various lab duties. The support function provided by this position aids in reducing the backlog. The essential tasks performed by the lab technician, such as QA/QC duties, general housekeeping, reagent preparation and administrative tasks, are duties that cannot be accomplished by the analysts on an on-going basis without negatively impacting case turnaround times and throughput. As such, this position allows analysts to devote more time to case working duties and backlog reduction.
Third, funding for approximately 400 of overtime hours for the DNA unit would assist in backlog reduction in that at least 80 additional cases would be completed over the award period. 400 hours of overtime would correlate to about 6 hours per analyst per month for the award period.
Lastly, some laboratory consumables, such as pipette tips, will be needed for the DNA unit to perform DNA analysis duties. An additional grant funded position as well as overtime hours for the DNA unit would result in the need for additional consumables.
These requests are critical to addressing the current case submissions levels for the Unit to meet or exceed adequate turnaround times for trial date deadlines and to manage the backlog. In the absence of this analyst position, lab tech position, as well as overtime hours, the backlog will spike severely resulting in missed court dates within a very short period of time (<6mos). The position is expected to result in more than 50% of the Unit's case output in one year (>240 cases) with additional case output anticipated with the overtime hours available to the DNA unit. As such, the backlog can be expected to vastly decrease over the award period.