Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $291,038)
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and local laboratories have continued to experience case backlogs due to the high volume of cases they are receiving from law enforcement agencies in their areas. The opioid epidemic and changes in state marijuana legislation have caused an influx of cases, with more complex testing methods, which has further contributed to the number of backlogged cases at forensic science and medical examiner/coroners offices across the state. In order for forensic labs to increase productivity and efficiency, they must purchase instrumentation and train personnel to remain current with technology standards. Utilizing Coverdell funds to upgrade outdated equipment, obtain additional training, and provide funding for lab personnel will allow for more rapid processing of evidence, faster case turnaround, and quicker apprehension, prosecution and conviction of criminal subjects.