Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $235,299)
The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Forensic Services Division is the agency responsible for analyzing evidential material associated with criminal investigations for twenty five routine law enforcement clients and other governmental agencies in Contra Costa County, CA. The population served by the Forensics Services Division exceeds one million. The Forensic Service Division includes the Forensic Biology Unit which is a full service DNA unit within the laboratory.
The DNA Unit has been working to increase capacity with the addition of new equipment and automation. In addition, the DNA Unit has been working to embrace a case flow efficiency model, that focuses on a "Team-based" approach and batching of casework. This model was developed from the published reports of past NIJ "Forensic DNA Unit Efficiency Improvement" grant recipients and the Oakland Police Department Crime Laboratory. The objective of the NIJ Program was to publish successful and carefully evaluated novel efficiency improvement methodologies intended to serve as models for forensic science laboratories. The "Team" based approach has demonstrated great success improving case flow efficiency, hence increasing sample throughput and reducing turn around time. The Oakland PD model uses a technician for sample processing, which greatly improved their efficiency.
The Federal funding from this award will be used for the following goal:
1. Hire two employees "Forensic Analyst - Projects" with grant funds to assist the DNA analysts and facilitate the processing of forensic biology/DNA casework.