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Crime laboratories

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Supporting States to Test Sexual Assault Evidence

April, 2018

April 2018

Crime laboratory and law enforcement personnel from three states discuss the value the NIJ-FBI Sexual Assault Kit Partnership to test sexual assault evidence and obtain investigatory leads.

During this partnership, NIJ is working with the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, to test eligible kits from law enforcement agencies and laboratories across the country and develop best practices that can improve the quality and speed of sexual assault kit processing. 

Strengthening Our Nation's Crime Laboratories

April, 2018

April 2018

As technology improves, demand for analysis of DNA and other forensic evidence to help solve crimes grows. This video describes some of the challenges crime laboratories face in meeting this demand and how National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funding has strengthened crime labs and encouraged innovation in forensic techniques.

Performance Data from the DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program

: Casework laboratories test forensic evidence from on ongoing cases and investigations. The metrics they report come from the DNA analysis of this evidence. Database laboratories analyze DNA samples collected from convicted offenders and arrestees as the State’s legislation dictates. Every state has at least one database laboratory, and those laboratories are generally managed by the state laboratory system. The metrics they reported are from the analysis of these database samples. Note that not all database laboratories collect arrestee samples and not all the grantees listed in this grid collect database samples.

January 1, 2016 – June 30, 2018

Yes, the backlog reported in these metrics includes the SAK backlog. The CEBR program is designed to support DNA analysis for all crimes including homicide, sexual assault and robbery, thus NIJ does not focus on obtaining data associated with one category of evidence or crime.

A CODIS hit may involve the linking of crimes to each other and/or to convicted offenders or arrestees. The system’s hits are tracked as either an offender hit (where the identity of a potential suspect is generated) or as a forensic hit (where the DNA profiles obtained from two or more crime scenes are linked but the source of these profiles remains unknown (FBI, 2019)).

Grantees who record zero for measures D-F or J-L did not use their Federal award money for one or more of the following activities: overtime for existing scientists to analyze forensic biology/DNA cases or database samples, DNA testing supplies for forensic biology/DNA cases or database samples, outsourcing forensic biology/DNA cases or database samples, or hiring and supporting additional scientists whose main activity was analyzing forensic biology/DNA cases or database samples. If grantees are using their Federal award money for one or more of the above activities, they should have data to report for cases analyzed, database samples analyzed, profiles uploaded from forensic cases and database samples, and hits.

The award period for CEBR awards are two years. Some grantees receive extensions on their awards for many different reasons, but the longest extension an award can receive is one year, for a total award period of three years.

Funding Opportunities for Publicly Funded Crime Labs, Fiscal Year 2017

January, 2017

January 2017

This webinar will inform the audience of the changes to three programs available for publicly funded forensic laboratories and introduce a new program for FY 2017. Changes to existing programs will be highlighted and presenters will discuss the background and goals of the solicitations, recommendations for successful applications, application expectations and requirements, the review process, and the application checklist. There will also be time for questions and answers at the end of the webinar.

Solicitations discussed include:

NIJ Forensic Science R&D for Criminal Justice Purposes Program, Fiscal Year 2017

January, 2017

January 2017

This webinar will provide details and guidance for potential applicants to the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ) Forensic Science Research and Development for Criminal Justice Purposes Program. This program seeks proposals in basic or applied research, and development to support forensic science disciplines. The purpose and goals of the forensic science R&D program will be discussed and frequently asked questions regarding this funding opportunity will be addressed. A Q&A session will conclude this webinar.

Backlogs and Their Impact on the Criminal Justice System

June, 2010

Evidence backlogs have been known to be an issue in crime laboratories. A recent study published by NIJ has shown that backlogs of untested evidence are also an issue in law enforcement evidence storage. This panel will discuss the issues and present preliminary findings from a study of the Los Angeles Police Department's and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's experience with clearing out a large backlog of unanalyzed rape kits.

Making Sense of the DNA Backlog - NIJ Conference Panel

June, 2009

Panelists will present findings from two NIJ studies that examined the DNA backlog in law enforcement agencies and crime labs. Panelists will discuss research findings related to new and potential time- and cost-saving approaches.

Forensic Laboratory Operations

In crime laboratories, scientists analyze evidence collected from ​crime scenes, suspects and victims. They may analyze anything from DNA or fingerprints to human remains or suspicious substances.

Forensic Laboratory Enhancement Funding

NIJ administers the funding programs to enhance and assist forensic labs in multiple areas.

General information, based on the most recent year's solicitation, is provided for each program.  Be sure to read carefully any current solicitation applying to any of these programs.