Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $1,601,270)
The North Carolina State Crime Laboratory has the responsibility of providing forensic DNA analysis and a convicted offender/arrestee database for the entire state. Funding from this grant will be used to increase capacity and to reduce the number of backlogged cases in the Forensic Biology Section and to increase the capacity of database samples analyzed and uploaded into CODIS.
The Forensic Biology Section currently has a backlog of approximately 2000 DNA cases. Since June 2014, this backlog has been reduced from over 4000 cases. Prior success in this area has been maintained, in part, through grant funding for laboratory supplies and overtime for analysts. The section plans to continue this model and is requesting additional funds for laboratory supplies and overtime. An equipment request has also been made to help increase efficiency in performing analysis. These requests coupled with additional analysts beginning casework are expected to ensure the success of this project.
Over the past three years, the DNA database section has used grant funding to outsource an average of 20,000 convicted offender/arrestee samples per year. Grant funding for overtime was also used to review CODIS hit confirmations and to process arrestee expungements in a timely manner.
State legislation for an all felony arrestee database is being considered this year which would increase the number of untested samples and the time it takes to load those samples into CODIS. To account for this potential increase, the section is continuing its request to outsource database samples and to receive funding to review CODIS hit confirmations and to process expungements. Funding will also be requested for laboratory supplies to perform in-house analysis of additional database samples. It is expected that this in-house analysis, coupled with outsourcing and overtime funding will increase the number of samples analyzed/uploaded per year and will allow the database section to maintain its current backlog of three months.