Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $350,000)
The Washoe County Sheriff's Office, Forensic Science Division (WCSO-FSD) is the agency that is responsible for analyzing forensic evidence associated with criminal investigations for all state and local law enforcement agencies within the northern region of the state of Nevada. The WCSO-FSD Biology Unit is responsible for overseeing DNA analysis and subsequent upload to NDIS of forensic profiles and DNA samples collected from all convicted felons and felony arrests within the northern portion of the state. As the designated state CODIS laboratory, they are responsible for uploading all eligible database profiles submitted from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Forensic Laboratory as well.
With the passage of SB 243 (Brianna's Law) requiring the collection and analysis of DNA from those arrested of a felony starting July 1, 2014, the number of database samples received by our laboratory has increased from approximately 100-200/month (convicted offenders) to approximately 400-600/month (convicted offenders and arrestee samples). The funding mechanism put into place as part of the law is insufficient to completely fund this arrestee program. This award will be used to fund the outsourcing of the convicted offender sample analysis and the in-house technical review and upload of these samples. These funds will be essential to ensure that these samples are rapidly processed and uploaded into CODIS. This award will be specifically used for the following goals:
1. Reduce the backlog of forensic biology/DNA cases.
2. Ensure a rapid turnaround time of DNA database samples.
3. Increase the capacity of the WCSO-FSD casework laboratory.
4. Maintain continuing education for nearly all DNA analysts in the laboratory.
The WCSO-FSD expects to analyze at least 25 forensic DNA cases above the capabilities of the laboratory and outsource 2,364 convicted offender database samples. The laboratory expects to create a rapid turnaround time of 60 days or less for arrestee samples; decrease the casework turnaround time to 90 days or less; decrease the number of backlogged cases to less than 75, and increase the average number of samples analyzed per analyst per month to 30.