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2015 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program - San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Forensic Laboratory

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $166,034)

The County of San Mateo is located in Northern California. It is positioned immediately south of the County and City of San Francisco. It has a population over 730,000 and comprises 450 square miles, 25% of which is urban space. The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Laboratory (SMCSO-FL) services approximately 30 law enforcement and law enforcement related agencies in the County of San Mateo and its surrounding areas. These agencies include San Mateo County Departments: Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, Coroner’s Office, Probation, Parks & Recreation, Animal Control; California Highway Patrol; local police departments; California Fish & Game; and transportation authorities. By contractual agreement, the SMCSO-FL also provides forensic services to the City of Vallejo (Solano County), the cities of Concord and Pittsburg (Contra Costa County), and the City of Fremont and Union City (Alameda County).

On May 11, 2005, the SMCSO-FL began performing STR DNA analysis.

On September 11, 2010, the SMCSO-FL was accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board International (ASCLD/LAB). The SMCSO-FL undergoes external audits, not less than once every two (2) years, to demonstrate compliance with the DNA Quality Assurance Standards established by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Federal funding from the FY2015 DNA Backlog Reduction Program will be used within a 24-month project period, beginning on January 1, 2016.

The SMCSO-FL’s goals include:
1. Reducing the forensic DNA case turnaround times through the continued employment of one (1) contract Criminalist and the purchase of supplies.
2. Increasing the capacity of the Laboratory by continuing to employ one (1) contract Criminalist and purchasing laptop computers for unit members.
3. Providing the required continuing education for Criminalists employed at the Laboratory.

The SMCSO-FL anticipates a reduction in the DNA case backlog; however, this reduction will not occur until the section fills its two vacancies and completes the training of one Examiner. The SMCSO-FL expects:
• To complete at least 159 cases funded by the end of the award.
• To maintain a turnaround time of 175 days or less.
• Examiner throughput to exceed 25 samples per analyst per month.

Currently, four (4) fully qualified, independent, Examiners are responsible for working on DNA cases, one (1) Examiner is in training, two (2) vacancies have yet to be filled, one (1) contract Criminalist assists in the screening of evidence, and two (2) interns assist with general Laboratory functions (no casework).


Date Created: September 20, 2015