Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $150,000)
This applicant is responsible for the collection and examination of evidence from all types of crimes committed within a community of over 464,000 residents, which is the 38th largest city in the United States.
The Mesa Forensic Services Biology Unit, consisting of seven employees is responsible for processing biological evidence from homicides, sexual assaults, burglaries and numerous other crimes. During 2016, members of the unit processed over 3,200 samples and prepared over 1,500 reports regarding their scientific analyses. The laboratory is a National DNA Index System (NDIS) participant.
The Mesa Forensic Services Biology Unit participates in external audits, not less than once every two years, to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the Quality Assurance Standards established by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The most recent external audits were performed February 21-22, 2017, February 9-12, 2015, October 21-22, 2013, August 29, 2011, and May 3-6, 2010.
The current (2016) overall average turnaround time for DNA reports is 31 days, with violent crime being 29 days and nonviolent crime being 33 days.
The current (2016) average number of forensic DNA samples analyzed per analyst per month is 33.
The number of untested/not completed forensic biology/DNA cases on hand on December 31, 2016 was 144.
The laboratory intends to increase capacity using existing personnel. Federal funding in the amount of $150,000.00 from this award will be used for the following goals:
1. Reduce the backlog of forensic biology/DNA cases.
2. Increase the capacity of the Mesa Police Department Forensic Services Biology Unit by obtaining an eight capillary CE instrument and associated software.
It is estimated that a minimum of 10 forensic DNA cases can be analyzed within the 24-month award project period using the Federal funding requested under this FY2017 program.
The laboratory expects to reduce the average turnaround time by approximately 3% and the backlog by approximately 10%. The average turnaround time would be reduced to approximately 30 days and the number of untested/not completed forensic biology/DNA cases would be reduced to 130.
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