Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $981,593)
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Scientific Investigation Division (SID) is the agency that is responsible for analyzing evidential material associated with criminal investigations for the City of Los Angeles. The LAPD-SID maintains the Serology/DNA Unit (SDU), housed in two facilities-one located at the Hertzberg Davis Forensic Science Center (HDFSC) and the other at Piper Technical Center (PTC). The HDFSC laboratory is responsible for conducting DNA analysis on evidence samples collected from crime scenes in the City of Los Angeles as well as conducting screening of evidence for forensic value. The PTC laboratory also conducts screening of evidence and is under development as a DNA analysis laboratory.
The City of Los Angeles has been facing budget challenges while still seeking to expand its DNA analysis capabilities. The federal funding from this award will allow the SDU to reduce its backlog (per the NIJ definition, any cases not completed within 30 days after the laboratory receives the case request) and increase its laboratory capacity to meet existing and future demand for Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) screening and testing. This award will be specifically used toward the following goals:
1. Reduce or prevent the development of a backlog of forensic biology/DNA cases.
2. Maintain or increase the capacity and capabilities of the LAPD SDU casework laboratories.
3. Maintain continuing education for analysts in the lab.
Utilizing funds from this program, the LAPD SDU expects to analyze at least 363 forensic biology and DNA cases (343 in-house with overtime, and 20 by outsourcing). Independent of this or any program the City continues to train Criminalists in support of DNA testing. Once these Criminalists are trained, they can perform evidence screening and/or DNA analysis that will improve efficiency and reduce turnaround time. Those Criminalists who are already trained to perform DNA typing will be able to increase the number of samples that they analyze, further reducing turnaround time. The lab expects to reduce the turnaround time for a forensic case by 5% and increase analyst productivity by an average of 5%.
Utilizing funds from this grant will allow Criminalists to meet continuing education requirements and/or receive training, helping the laboratory to meet accreditation requirements, and providing analysts with knowledge of the latest developments in forensic DNA analysis (some of which may be incorporated into LAPD protocols to further improve capacity and efficiency).