Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $239,873)
The North Carolina State Crime Laboratory currently has three lab locations in its system. The Drug Chemistry sections in all three locations receive approximately 15,000 drug cases per year.
The Raleigh Crime Laboratory receives approximately 8,000 drug cases per year. The laboratory currently has six GC/MS systems, three of which are ten years old or older. These are requiring more frequent repairs and are down more than they are operational creating a negative effect on case productivity and turn around time for analysis.
The laboratory will use Coverdell money to buy new instruments a new GC/MS system so the oldest, most problematic instrument can be replaced. All of the locations are using balances that do not communicate directly with the electronic reporting system used for casework. Most forensic laboratories have moved to using balances with software that automatically feeds weights directly into electronic worksheets. This diminishes any error when entering weights manually into the system.
The laboratory will also use Coverdell funds to purchase the software necessary for this and the purchase of outdated balances that will not be compatible with the software must be purchased. Eight balances will need to be replaced. The new balances must also be calibrated before use. Coverdell funds would be used to cover the calibrations. The Triad Regional Laboratory has identified areas where the quality and /or timeliness of forensic sciences could be improved.
The Triad Laboratory is currently operating with a copier/scanner/fax/printer that was purchased in 2008. It is not working properly more than it is operational. This piece of equipment is critical for printing of DWI reports required by law as well as printing of the reports that accompany evidence when it is returned. Coverdell funds would be used to cover the cost of replacing the existing copier/scanner/fax/printer.
The Triad Laboratory currently operates two Polarized Light Microscopes. There are five working Forensic Scientists in that laboratory all using the two existing microscopes which can cause a bottleneck in the analysis of drug cases. An additional Polarizing microscope would allow cases to be worked more efficiently so no Forensic Scientist will have to wait to use a microscope. Coverdell funds would be used to purchase a new Polarizing Light Microscope.
The State Crime Labs Triad Regional Laboratory vortexes 72 toxicology samples at one time. An additional vortexer would double the number of samples mixed at one time increasing the efficiency of toxicology casework. Coverdell funds would be used to purchase the additional vortexer. The Western Regional Laboratory currently has one turbovap for processing toxicology cases. An additional 6 toxicologists will be moving to the Western regional laboratory. Purchasing an additional turbovap would eliminate waiting during the completion of their analysis. This would increase efficiency in toxicology casework. Coverdell funds would be used to purchase the additional turbovap.