SPOKANE – Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, today announced a Department of Justice grant award for Washington State Patrol’s Crime Laboratory Division. The grant allocates $2,245,651 to increase DNA casework and to reduce the current turnaround time for DNA processing.
The Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory Division (WSPCLD) is the established public provider of forensic DNA and DNA database services in Washington State. There are 5 existing casework DNA laboratories in the WSPCLD, which provide forensic DNA casework services for the entire state of Washington. The WSPCLD also has an existing Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database laboratory, which is a computer software program that operates local, state, and national databases of DNA profiles from convicted offenders, unsolved crime scene evidence, and missing persons.
The expected outcomes of this grant are to increase WSPCLD’s capacity to meet the steady rise of submissions, reduce the backlog of samples needing testing, and grow the CODIS database of DNA profiles from crime scene and database samples. These activities will result in more timely investigative leads for law enforcement agencies to aid criminal investigations and increase public safety.
In announcing this award, U.S. Attorney Waldref stated, “It is critical that we work together – with our state and local law enforcement partners – to address the growing need for DNA casework.” She continued, “This award will fund critical services to better assist with DNA processing and support my office’s mission to seek justice on behalf of all citizens in Eastern Washington. The Washington State Patrol’s crime lab has been an invaluable partner, especially in federal cases arising on Tribal land. Thanks to their incredible work, we have prosecuted a number of cases that would not have been possible without the work by WSP’s professional forensic analysts.”
Additional information about grants and funding through the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs is available at https://www.ojp.gov. Information regarding the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence against Women is available at https://www.justice.gov/ovw.