Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $1,678,735)
The Goal of this grant is to reduce the backlog in processing non-DNA forensic evidence for opioid related and non-opioid related cases.
1. To process accurate and timely forensic evidence.
2. Support accredited laboratories with equipment and resources that enhance their ability to process opioid related and non-opioid related evidence.
The Governor's Criminal Justice Division (CJD) proposes to use its 2018 Coverdell funds to support accredited crime laboratories in reducing the backlog in processing non-DNA forensic evidence such as firearms examinations, latent prints, toxicology, opioid related and non-opioid related controlled substances, opioid related and non-opioid related forensic pathology, questionable documents, and trace evidence.
Grant funds will enhance the ability of laboratories operated by state and local units of government to maintain the integrity of the evidence they examine as well as improve the timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner services.
Funds may be used to pay overtime to forensic scientists, contract for external processing of evidence, and to acquire new or replacement equipment that will improve operations of the laboratory and support a reduction in the backlog of opioid related and non-opioid related evidence.
Title 37 Part 15 of the Texas Administrative Code requires all crime laboratories operating in the state to be accredited through the Texas Forensic Science Commission (FSC). Statutes also address the requirements for admissibility of evidence in criminal proceedings and require that, in order to be considered admissible, the evidence must have been examined by a laboratory that was accredited at the time the evidence was processed. The FSC is statutorily authorized to conduct investigations into complaints about laboratory negligence or misconduct affecting the integrity of the forensic results.