Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $246,564)
The Tucson Police Department Crime Laboratory (TPDCL), a unit of the Tucson Police Department, is responsible for the analysis of evidence associated with criminal investigations for the City of Tucson, to include the analysis of DNA. The TPDCL and the City of Tucson continue to face severe budgetary constraints, particularly in the area of staffing. There has been no increase in the number of permanent staff members in the DNA Unit or the Crime Laboratory for several years. The backlog of DNA cases waiting for analysis continues to increase and the turnaround time remains very high. One way to positively affect the backlog and turnaround time is to increase staffing. Funding from this grant will be used to continue grant funding for a DNA Screener (CSS) position for an additional 24 months; continue grant funding for a full-time DNA Criminalist position for an additional 24 months; outsource DNA cases to approved accredited external vendors for analysis; purchase two Thermal cyclers; and fund DNA external audit. It is anticipated that the grant-funded DNA Screener will "screen" a minimum of 300 cases for potential DNA evidence while being funded with this grant. This position provides important and much needed support to the DNA analysts, freeing them up to focus their time and efforts on the actual analysis process and data interpretation. It estimated that the grant-funded DNA Criminalist will analyze a minimum of 50 cases while being funded from this grant. The cases screened by the DNA Screener will be different cases than those analyzed by the DNA Criminalist to avoid double counting cases for grant reporting. At least fifteen cases comprised of 60 samples will be outsourced using funds from this grant to approved external accredited vendors. Once returned, the cases will be evaluated for CODIS eligibility. These will be uploaded to CODIS and any resulting hits will be reported to the investigator. Two thermal cyclers and the DNA external audit will be purchased using funds from this grant.
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