Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $855,555)
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) is responsible for testing DNA/biology cases it receives from any law enforcement agency in Ohio. BCI operates three regional forensic science laboratories throughout the state. The London and Richfield regional laboratories have full forensic DNA casework laboratories. Forensic biology is performed at the Bowling Green regional laboratory. BCI continues to decrease turnaround time and increase capacity.
The number of requests for DNA/Biology testing has risen continuously over the last several years and this trend is expected to continue. In 2014, BCI completed 10,969 forensic biology/DNA cases. With the 2014 closure of the Canton-Stark Regional Crime Laboratory DNA unit, the number of requests for BCI services has increased. In 2015, BCI received over 450 DNA cases from Stark County. A total of 11,601 forensic biology/DNA cases were completed in 2015 representing a 6% increase in the number of cases completed from 2014.
The untested sexual assault kit initiative has significantly impacted caseloads above and beyond that generated by current offenses. These cases are triaged based on offense date, regardless of when the cases were submitted. Consequently, it takes an average of 103.98 days to process, record, screen, and analyze a forensic biology/DNA case from submission to delivery of results to the submitting agency. The stated number is the combined (FB, COFB, DNA, CODN & NC LIMS section codes) overall average turnaround time for the date range 01/01/15 - 12/31/15. Excluding the kits tested in the sexual assault kit initiative, which are tested by the date of offense, the turnaround time for active casework was 24.01 days (01/01/15 - 12/31/15).
With the supply monies requested, the laboratory will be able to analyze at least 803 cases above and beyond the number that will be analyzed using other sources of funding. BCI is not requesting any funds for outsourcing case samples.
Funding from this award will be used to advance the following goals:
1. Reduce the casework backlog and decrease testing turnaround times through in-house testing.
2. Increase the capacity of the DNA/Biology laboratories by purchasing additional equipment.
3. Provide training to forensic DNA laboratory staff to meet continuing education requirements mandated in the DNA Quality Assurance Standards.