Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $250,000)
The Indian River Crime Laboratory (IRCL) provides scientific and technical services to all state, county, federal and municipal law enforcement agencies within the 19th Judicial Circuit of Florida, and occasionally assists agencies outside the Circuit. The Laboratory is located in the city of Fort Pierce and covers a four county service area of 2,420 square miles, which includes St. Lucie, Indian River, Okeechobee and Martin counties.
Over the past five years, innovative developments in instrumentation and multiplexing chemistries has resulted in increased sensitivity allowing a much wider range of sample types to be tested. Combined with popular entertainment shows that focus on investigations and the use of DNA, an environment has been created where the public routinely expects testing. This along with highly publicized research studies on the effect of CODIS in Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) testing has sparked a paradigm shift in State and National policy. Trends now encourage testing every kit with uploading into the National Database where applicable. The Florida Legislature agrees and has recently passed SB 636 into law.
The current level of staffing in the Forensic Biology Unit is not equipped to handle the anticipated influx of SAK evidence that will be required to be submitted within 30 days of a report and results uploaded into CODIS within 120 days as well as older SAKs not previously submitted. In an effort to comply with new legislation and meet the needs of the agencies we serve, the IRCL is requesting funding to achieve the four goals listed below that are detailed in the Program Narrative submitted with this application.
The IRCL continually strives to find improvements and solutions to streamline its processing. To keep abreast of technology advancements and to meet the FBIs Quality Assurance Standards for education, the IRCL actively pursues opportunities for training and peer networking to expand our knowledge base and prepare for implementation of these advancements in the laboratory.
This project is expected to result in the completions of the following four goals:
1. Increase capacity through the use of fee-for-service laboratories
2. Increase capabilities through implementation of automated differential extraction technology for sexual assault evidence
3. Increase capabilities and decrease turnaround time through implementation of mixture interpretation software
4. Provide professional training on new technology and meet the required annual continuing education for compliance with the FBI DNA Quality Assurance Standards