Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $825,438)
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) operates as Ohio's official crime lab and provides criminal investigative services to local law enforcement agencies. The BCI's Laboratory Division is responsible for testing DNA/biology cases it receives from any law enforcement agency in Ohio- free of charge. BCI operates three regional forensic science laboratories throughout the state in London, Richfield, and Bowling Green, Ohio.
The London and Richfield regional laboratories have full forensic DNA casework laboratories and forensic biology is performed at the Bowling Green regional laboratory.
The total requests for DNA/biology testing rose continuously over the past several years and the trend is expected to continue. Based on internal statistics, BCI assignments increased by 20.11% from 2014 to 2016 and are expected to reach a total of 11,000 assignments in 2017.
In addition, caseloads are increasing significantly due to implementation of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative (SAK Testing Initiative) and Senate Bill 316, which went into effect on March 23, 2015. The initiative consisted of an open call to law enforcement to send untested sexual assault kits to BCI for testing. SB 316 requires all law enforcement agencies in Ohio to submit untested sexual assault kits to a crime laboratory. The submissions have had a significant impact on the current BCI caseload, leading to a turnaround time of 108.53 days.
To continue operation as an accredited crime lab, BCI must comply with continuing education requirements and FBI Quality Assurance Standards to ensure proper DNA analysis. The expenses associated with additional training are unmanageable for BCI's laboratories without the assistance of Federal aid.
The Ohio Attorney General's Office - Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Laboratory Division is requesting funding under the FY 2017 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program to address the costs associated with improving timeliness of DNA forensic services and accreditation compliance. To carry out the program goals, BCI will purchase consumable supplies, additional STRmix equipment and licenses, and 120 proficiency tests. In addition, BCI will use funding to cover the costs associated DNA equipment and software related conferences. It is anticipated the $825,438 program will begin on January 1, 2018.
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