Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $100,000)
Fraud/identity theft and property crimes remain the largest proportion of crimes within the Cities of Burbank and Glendale. Property crimes compromise over 90% of UCR Type 1 crimes, while financial crimes have been the most difficult of UCR Type II crimes to investigate. The Verdugo Regional Crime Laboratory was founded mainly to address the demand for DNA testing of evidence recovered from property and financial crimes within these cities. The Verdugo Regional Crime Laboratory, accredited in May 2013, has assumed forensic DNA testing of all GPD cases and is now accepting cases from the Burbank Police Department and regional local and federal law enforcement agencies. With access to CODIS beginning in January 2014, the Forensic Biology Unit experienced a 4-fold increase in DNA testing requests from 2013 to 2014. The laboratory has implemented robotic instrumentation to streamline the DNA testing workflow and to increase sample capacity. As more samples are processed, a greater need for mixture interpretation has been observed within the Forensic Biology Unit. Funding from this award will allow the laboratory to address the influx of DNA casework from these agencies by expanding sample processing capabilities through implementation of mixture interpretation software.
Recent discussions within the DNA testing community has focused on standardization of mixture interpretation within and across laboratories. The advent of mixture interpretation software utilizing various statistical modeling methodologies has propelled the movement towards mixture interpretation standardization with the additional benefit of decreasing casework turnaround time by eliminating manual interpretation and manual statistical calculations.
This award will be specifically used to meet the goal of increased sample capacity resulting in more cases completed per analyst with shorter case turnaround times. Funds will be used as follows:
Mixture Interpretation Software Implementation: The Verdugo Regional Crime Laboratory is requesting grant funds to purchase mixture interpretation software licenses, technical and scientific support, and an annual software maintenance contract.