Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $128,912)
The Erie County Forensic Laboratorys extensive firearms backlog, dating back to 2010 demonstrates the need to improve timeliness. The delay severely impacts investigations pending laboratory results, particularly in the area of prospective high confidence leads resulting from entry into National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN).
Additionally, the Firearms section is operating with outdated equipment (comparison microscope) which is impeding on the quality and timeliness of the analysis process.
Lastly, annual internal audits required for accreditation can only be conducted by properly trained and qualified personnel. The audits are instrumental in improving the quality of lab services. The laboratory does not have enough internal auditors to conduct the audits in an efficient and effective manner.
The award will be utilized to fund overtime for 4 full-time Firearms Examiners to decrease the backlog and improve turnaround time. The examiners are projected to work 400 backlogged cases with this funding. The award will also be used to replace an outdated comparison microscope operating at a diminished capacity. The comparison microscope is utilized to examine and compare fired components suspected to be associated, so by purchasing a modern system with expanded capabilities, the lab will increase its examination abilities and quality of work product, including photo-documentation of the microscopic observations. Additionally, the award will be used to provide ANAB Internal Auditor training, including travel for 2 lab personnel as a means of increasing the lab staff trained to conduct internal audits. This training is recognized by the labs accrediting body as a means to properly train lab personnel in conducting internal audits. Lastly, the award will be used to provide overtime funding for the administration and management of this Coverdell Grant funding program.
With additional time for analysis and utilization of new fully functional equipment, the overtime funding and new equipment funding will reduce the backlog and turnaround time, thereby improving the quality and timeliness of our forensic services. Adding two more trained and qualified personnel to the internal audit team will increase the efficiency of the audit process as well as improve the effectiveness of the accreditation requirement; and ultimately the quality of the forensic science services provided by the Laboratory.
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