Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $1,055,927)
The goal of this proposal is to reduce the casework backlog and associated turnaround time for casework completed by the Biology Section of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Scientific Services Bureau (LASD-SSB).
The LASD-SSB laboratory faces old and new challenges heading into 2017. LASD-SSB is still operating under a 2010 mandate by the former Sheriff to process every sexual assault kit collected by the Sheriff Stations and law enforcement agencies within the county. LASD also continues to receive an increasing number of non-sexual assault case requests. Additionally, 2016 will bring a major technology shift to a more complex DNA kit. This will require extensive staff training, which will take analysts off normal casework. This has the potential to increase casework backlog for 2017. To combat the possible increased backlog, the LASD-SSB plans to use the FY2016 Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction award for outsourcing contracts, overtime, equipment, supplies, DNA interpretation software, and training travel and registration fees.
About half of the FY2016 budget will be used for outsourcing contracts. The LASD-SSB is projecting that approximately 500 cases will be sent out to contract laboratories. This will help reduce the number of cases that need to be worked in-house, thereby reducing the impact that the aforementioned technology shift will have on the backlog.
Funding will also be allocated for personnel overtime, and associated benefits, so that backlogged cases can be worked on overtime and the reviews of contract lab data from outsourced cases can be conducted.
For this proposal, the categories of supplies and equipment will be greatly reduced compared to previous award budgets in order to provide funding for outsourcing and DNA interpretation software which will be a priority for FY2016.
With the transition to a new DNA kit in 2016, analysts will be trained to use DNA interpretation software for DNA mixture analysis. Currently, interpretation is completed by hand, which is time-consuming and will become more so as the data gets more complicated with the new, more complex DNA kit. The software will allow accurate and efficient interpretation of complex mixtures so analysts can use their time to complete other casework tasks.
In the past year, the county has reduced the funding for training opportunities, so the FY2016 CEBR grant will be used to provide training for 23 analysts, which is approximately half of the personnel that will require a minimum of 8-hours of continuing DNA education in 2017. nca/ncf