This is a report on the October 2014 meeting of representatives from the U.S. Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and crime laboratory directors from across the nation, including those who were DNA or Coverdell grantee recipients.
The purpose of the meeting was to obtain information on and discuss strengthening the DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (DNA) and Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants (Coverdell) programs, which are viewed as two critical sources of funding for laboratory operations. The meeting was scheduled after NIJ internal discussions on the development of new strategies for strengthening the DNA and Coverdell programs. The meeting consisted of an overview of NIJ’s programs and strategic approach to addressing the needs of the forensic science community and a discussion and overview of the administration of the DNA Capacity Enhancement & Backlog Reduction and Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants programs. Based on the meeting discussions, it was clear that the DNA and Coverdell programs are critical resources that have strengthened the quality of forensic science in the United States. Without these programs, forensic laboratories would not be able to increase their capacity and reduce the number of evidence samples awaiting forensic analysis. Meeting discussions provided information and feedback on the development of strategies for strengthening these programs.