Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $501,527)
Broward County is the 15th largest county in the United States, the 2nd largest in the state of Florida, and consists of 31 municipalities. The current population is a hefty 1,748,066. The Sheriff of Broward County is charged with safeguarding residents and visitors by providing public safety services that enhance the quality of life for everyone in Broward. Broward County Sheriffs Office employs over 5,000 people and relies heavily on federal, local, and state funding to ensure effective and efficient law enforcement, detention, and fire resuce services . Law enforcement agencies nationwide are under a microscope by residents/communities with focus on accountability , parity, and transparency. All facets of law enforcement are important; howerever, the ability to aid the local criminal justice system in the proof of guilt or innocence of crime suspects in Broward County is paramount.
The Broward Sheriffs Office Crime Laboratory DNA Unit has 10 staff actively working on cases. There are nine DNA analysts, one of which is a City of Fort Lauderdale funded analyst , and one serologist who is also currently in DNA training . The unit also includes one analyst in training, a full-time CODIS Administrator, a technical analyst, a forensic technician and a Criminal Unit Manager. The Crime Laboratory is challenged to meet the demands of consumers/customers with a limited budget and nearly 2,000 assigned cases. Funding is needed to hire three additional Criminalist I Analysts who will assist with case productivity; the purchase of laboratory supplies and consumables which will enable the processing of more cases and DNA samples ; replacement of inoperative microscopes needed for examination of sexual assault evidence; and attend annual mandatory training for DNA analyts to ensure they meet DAB and QAS requirements. Some of our staff are certified by the American Board of Criminalistics and have even greater requirements to maintain their certifications, which will also be funded through the FY 2016 CEBR grant.
DNA grant funds are essential to the Broward County Sheriffs Office's ability to address DNA backlogs, utilize appropriate equipment and supplies to identify criminal evidence, support staff who work tirelessly to maintain educational/professional levels of competency to resolve criminal forensic cases in Broward County's criminal justice system. In doing so, BSO creates safer communities with all stakeholders benefitting from quality law enforcement services.