Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron today announced $1,835,897 in Department of Justice grants to six Maryland law enforcement agencies to be used to reduce the backlog in DNA testing at their laboratories. The awards will be used to hire additional staff, improve and maintain laboratory capabilities, purchase specialized equipment to improve laboratory operations, and fund technical training and continuing education. The awards are part of the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Program’s Bureau of Justice Assistance FY 21 DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program.
In addition, the Justice Department awarded two grants totaling $615,477 to the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services, under the FY21 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program. Under the first grant, $365,477 will be distributed to six forensic crime laboratories and the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office to reduce backlogs related to latent print examination, firearms examination, and drug analysis and to purchase equipment needed to improve the quality and efficiency of forensic services statewide. The second grant of $250,000 will be used by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to purchase and implement and Laboratory Information Management System in order to improve efficiency and address needs including chain of custody records; workflow automation; improved data security; and long-term data storage.
“Forensic science, especially DNA testing has become critical in solving many crimes,” said United States Attorney Erek L. Barron. “These funds will assist our state and local law enforcement partners to improve laboratory efficiency and address the backlog of DNA testing in order to allow victims to obtain justice without undue delay.”
The following Maryland organizations received funding to control and reduce the backlog of DNA cases:
- The Anne Arundel County Police Department Forensic Services Section received $260,000 which will be used to hire a full-time Laboratory Technician, fund more than 100 hours of overtime, and to purchase specialized equipment to allow quicker turnaround times for testing.
- The Baltimore Police Department Crime Lab received $401,985 which will be used to fund the salaries for four scientists to perform laboratory testing procedures and identify samples to forward for DNA testing
- The Baltimore County Police Department Crime Lab received $222,597 to purchase specialized equipment and technology to improve lab performance and to pay for technical training and continuing education.
- The Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division received $431,315 to control the backlog of forensic biology/DNA cases by outsourcing, maintain current laboratory capabilities and improve operations, and provide required continuing education.
- The Montgomery County Police Crime Laboratory received $260,000 which will be used to outsource cases as needed to compensate for increased case submissions and fewer analysts performing casework analysis and to fund continuing education for analysts.
- The Prince George’s County Police Forensic Science Division received $260,000 to outsource DNA evidence from backlogged cases in order to reduce the current backlog of DNA cases.