This article focuses on the final outcomes of an award received by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) under a 2009 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Forensic DNA Unit Efficiency Improvement Program (EIP) solicitation regarding an approved and implemented plan that involved interagency cooperation among three jurisdictional law enforcement agencies within Palm Beach County.
The purpose of the 2009 EIP was to encourage crime laboratories to implement novel ideas and processes that would provide a measurable, significant, and sustainable way to meet the needs of national DNA. The Palm Beach EIP involving three agencies within the county has resulted in the effective and efficient establishment of a centralized biological pre-screening laboratory (BPL) for DNA evidence prior to submission to the county’s forensic laboratory for DNA testing. The current evaluation indicates this program has 1) improved cooperation and communication among the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and the forensic laboratory; 2) the LEAs now have influence on how quickly evidence is tested and results received, since they directly control their evidence collection submission and prescreening; and 3) a significant improvement in the timely forensic testing of crime-scene biological evidence, which provides timely investigative information. Following implementation of the EIP, 410 cases were submitted to the BPL during a 2-year period. Pre-EIP data and post-EIP data were calculated from PBSCO data in measuring the BPL effect on case processing. 10 figures