Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $1,275,624)
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Police Forensic Services Group (MSPFSG) Forensic Biology Section is requesting funds from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), and National Institute of Justice through the FY 2015 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program to operate the project from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2017. By purchasing necessary equipment and supplies, outsourcing casework analysis to external vendor laboratories, hiring temporary support staff and providing adequate continuing education opportunities to forensic biology analysts, the MSPFSG aims to improve capacity, reduce casework backlog, and enter DNA profiles into CODIS. The Commonwealth is faced with significant budget restrictions that impact the MSPFSG's ability to increase casework productivity as well as validate and implement new technologies. The federal funding provided in this program would allow the Forensic Biology Section to purchase new equipment. reagents and supplies necessary to improve upon the Section's current methods and increase overall casework capacity. Funding from this program would also allow for the hiring of temporary employees to assist with administrative duties in the Forensic Biology Section. Relieving certain administrative tasks from analysts allows them to devote more time to technical casework responsibilities, thereby increasing the amount of cases that can be completed and decreasing the overall time in which to do so. Additionally, funding to
support outsourcing cases for screening and DNA analysis allows for additional backlog casework to be completed while maintaining the MSPFSG's current workload. By utilizing funds from this program the MSPFSG can outsource additional casework to their contracted vendors, complete more cases per month and increase the entry of
DNA profiles into the CODIS system. Finally, maintaining currency and evaluating emerging technology in the field through continuing education opportunities is imperative for all analysts in the forensic biology section. The budget constraints of the Commonwealth have made it challenging for personnel to attend professional conferences and workshops. The federal funds provided by this program would afford more analysts educational opportunities and help ensure DNA analysts obtain the continuing education requirements mandated by the FBI Quality Assurance Guidelines. In summary, funds provided through this program will help support the MSPFSG's continued goals to increase the capacity of the forensic biology section, reduce the casework backlog, and improve the turnaround time of forensic biology cases.