Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $231,595)
The Vermont Forensic Laboratory (VFL) is responsible for providing DNA analysis of evidentiary material associated with criminal investigations for all state and local law enforcement agencies and medical examiners within the state of Vermont. The VFL is the only forensic laboratory performing DNA analysis in Vermont. The Statutes of Vermont designate the VFL as the agency responsible for conducting DNA analysis on DNA samples collected from all convicted felons and some misdemeanor offenders in the state of Vermont; the VFL is responsible for storing and maintaining the resultant profiles in the Vermont DNA Data Bank, and uploading qualifying samples to CODIS.
In recent years, the VFL has faced staffing and budgetary constraints. This has placed a burden on both the database and case working sections to maximize workloads. The laboratory hopes to continue the employment of a grant-funded analyst position. At ,the present time there are no state funded positions available to fund that position. The Federal funding from this award will assist in giving analysts more time and supplies to process casework and database samples.
This award will be specifically used for the following goals:
Goal I. Reduce the backlog of forensic biology/DNA cases.
Goal 2. Reduce the backlog of DNA database samples.
Goal 3. Increase capacity and maintain stability of the VFL DNA laboratory.
The VFL expects to analyze at least 100 forensic cases over the period of the grant funding through the efforts of the qualified grant funded analyst as well as 250 cases worked on an overtime basis and/or with supplies purchased with grant funds. In addition, the VFL anticipates processing at least 1250 DNA database samples using a combination of overtime and supplies purchased with grant funds.
New equipment (thermal cycler) will be purchased with the grant funds to replace an aging system which has been discontinued. Eventually service/use of these units will be discontinued, if not already, therefore transitioning to newer platforms is critical. Lastly, additional data analysis software clients will be purchased to be used for review of CE data. This will allow more analysts to review data and increase the efficiency of that step of the process.