Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $21,478)
The City of Gautier Police Department has 40 sworn officers and serves more than 18,500 residents and a heavy load of day visitors/student commuters within its 32 square miles. The young city (incorporated in 1986) has faced natural disaster and economic hardship, and it struggles to find funding for needed equipment. Often, the department must make due with outdated technology or manual methods of record-keeping.
The department currently has no sexual assault kit (SAK) evidence tracking system; or even a formal and functional inventory system. Each piece of evidence is accepted and tracked manually, with only the help of a general incident reporting software that is not intended to be used for inventory.
There is a crucial need for the integration of a software-based SAK tracking system with barcode printing and scanning technology. A new system, complete with a new computer system that is compatible with the software, will allow the small city to better maintain the chain-of-custody on all SAKs and allow the department to better serve victims when responding to, investigating, and prosecuting sexual assault. Those are the two main goals of this project.
The requested equipment would create an inventory and tracking system through which older cold-case SAKs, current SAKs, and future SAKs will be input, coded, and tracked appropriately. It would help eliminate the possibility of human error when checking in and out the SAK evidence. The data gathered by a SAK tracking system will also allow the evidence technician to easily report SAK numbers to the granting agency and to the general public through the citys newly redesigned and user-friendly website.
The resulting electronic inventory, expected to be complete within six months, would also be easily searchable, which is a major asset since the current system in not searchable by specific piece of evidence or type of evidence.