Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $425,678)
The Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory (LSPCL) is the largest accredited DNA
laboratory in the State of Louisiana and serves as the states CODIS laboratory.
LSPCL processes a large portion of the states DNA cases and all of the states arrestee and convicted offender samples. LSPCL serves as the State DNA Index System (SDIS)laboratory. The State of Louisiana is facing stricter budgets, which directly impacts the funding available to LSPCL. This reduction in funding could reduce the funding available for laboratory staff, supplies, equipment, service contracts, and training. In addition to the reduction in funding, the Louisiana State Legislature mandated that each law enforcement agency report the number of untested sexual assault kits they have on hand.
This request prompted law enforcement agencies to submit many of these kits to LSPCL for analysis, which drastically increased the units caseload. Since this legislation, LSPCL has seen an almost 70 percent increase in submissions of sexual assault kits. Although LSPCL has made great progress to increase its capacity, the increase in sexual assault cases has dramatically impacted the backlog and turnaround times.
In an effort to increase throughput, LSPCL hired and is now in the process of training additional DNA analysts. Additional equipment and training will be needed to meet the needs of these analysts and
overtime will be needed to meet the demands of the increased caseload. In an effort to provide timely and accurate service to agencies submitting DNA evidence, LSPCL must increase their current level of capacity.
The goals of the projects funded by this grant are:
1. Reduce forensic and database DNA case/sample turnaround time,
2. Increase the throughput, and
3. Increase the knowledge of staff in current and future technologies to enhance the capabilities of the LSPCL.