This article summarizes the necessary considerations of location, construction, personnel, and services when constructing a biological processing laboratory (BPL), and compares initial completion dates and ultimate completion dates over a 3-year period from 2016 to 2018, based on the experience of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Biology Unit, which developed an innovative DNA backlog strategy to construct and operate a centralized BPL within a law enforcement agency, the Boca Raton Police Services Department.
The BPL became fully operational in 2012 and obtained accreditation in 2017. This coordinated, multi-agency agreement resulted in a streamlined process exemplifying several benefits, such as communicating timely testing results, decreasing the case turnaround time, and decreasing the DNA case backlog. There are several takeaway lessons from this experience, including (1) engaging legal counsel early to outline necessary legal procedures and the timeline; (2) bringing all stakeholders “to the table” early to discuss expectations, as well as legal and operational responsibilities; and (3) creating a realistic timeline as well as establishing a comprehensive memorandum of understanding by which all parties understand their roles and responsibilities. Understanding laboratory and non-laboratory policy issues is critical to implementation success and the efficacy of a BPL as a DNA backlog reduction strategy. (publisher abstract modified)
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