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Analyzing evidential material associated with criminal investigations for the City of Oakland, California

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $474,282)

The Oakland Police Department (OPD) Criminalistics Laboratory is the agency responsible for analyzing evidential material associated with criminal investigations for the City of Oakland, California. The Oakland Police Department is applying as a unit of local government for a grant of $474,282.

Forensic Biology Unit (FBU) capacity and case completion turnaround times at the OPD Laboratory have improved significantly as a result of funds received from the National Institute of Justice’s DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Programs (Program). The Federal funding from this award will continue the reduction of backlogged cases and increasing capacity by funding Criminalists' over time and supplies to analyze forensic backlog casework, by replacing antiquated DNA extraction instruments, and funding the salaries of the Program funded positions. Additionally the funding will be used to obtain training on the use of continuous probabilistic genotyping software and other training events to meet the continuing education requirements for the laboratory’s accreditation requirements, NDIS, FBI DNA Quality Assurance Standards, and scientist certification. This award will be specifically used for the following goals:
1. Reduce the backlog of forensic biology/DNA cases.
2. Increase and maintain the capacity and capabilities of the OPD Laboratory Forensic Biology Unit.
3. Retaining Biology Unit staff by continuing to fund salaries and benefits of 1.0 FTE Criminalist and 1.0 FTE Forensic DNA Technician.
4. Maintain continuing education for the Criminalists and the Forensic Technician in the lab.

The OPD Laboratory expects to analyze at least 180 forensic biology and DNA cases (100 with overtime and supplies and 80 with the Program funded criminalist). The lab also expects to reduce the turnaround to 50 business days on average and increase the productivity of each Criminalist to 50 samples per month. The DNA profiles obtained from probative evidence will be entered into CODIS. Based upon past experience we anticipate a 35% ‘Hit-Rate’. The decrease in turnaround time and the increase in the number of DNA samples analyzed will enable the lab to increase the number of cases completed annually.


Date Created: September 17, 2015