Implementation expected FY22. Awaiting funding.
We had 115 different entries in the Laboratory’s Professional Development Log for the month of January. These training entries primarily represent webinar presentations.
The Laboratory had JAG Grant funding for training in Fiscal Year 2019, and was able to send a variety of Laboratory personnel to different quality training venues. The Crime Laboratory has 29 positions allotted to it; we currently have 26 current employees and three vacancies. Of Lab’s 26 current employees, 16 are licensed Forensic Analysts by the State of Texas, and 3 are Latent Print Examiners certified in Latent Print Examination by the International Association of Identification (IAI). All 3 vacancies will need to be filled with licensed Forensic Analysts. In order to maintain statutorily required Continuing Forensic Education (CFE) for Licensed Analysts, and required training for the Certified Latent Print Examiners, the Laboratory’s Training Budget must be increased. The Lab's current training budget is inadequate.
Currently the Laboratory’s total training budget is $9,300.00. Based on the historical Cost per Credit Hour for training for Laboratory personnel, I have requested that the Budget/Finance Unit increase the Lab’s training budget by $29,622.40.
On the positive side, due to COVID-19 there are now online training venues available that Laboratory personnel can receive CFE that previously did not exist; it cost less to attend online training venues than in-person training venues.
In September 2020 the Crime Laboratory received its new LCMS instrument. The validation process of the LCMS has not begun due to City purchasing polices that have created numerous barriers and obstacles to the procurement of a Nitrogen generator and the consumable supplies that are necessary for the validation process. City Purchasing seems uncaring of the Crime Laboratory’s concerns, and unresponsive to our requests for assistance; therefore, the Crime Laboratory has reached out to the Police Department’s Assistant Director of Finance Christianne Kellett and asked for assistance in dealing with City Purchasing so that the necessary items can be purchased. It should be noted that there are tangible negative consequences for delaying the validation process. The Crime Laboratory spends approximately $5,498.00 per month to outsource THC cases
The Crime Laboratory has reviewed the original Qiacube validation reports and it was determined that further evaluation was required. Qiagen personnel responded to the Crime Laboratory multiple times in July 2020 to perform additional testing and to complete repairs on the Qiacubes, and the EZ1 instrument. The Biology Unit reviewed the new validation report, and after discussions with Qiagen personnel everyone agreed that additional work was necessary. Due to travel restrictions, the earliest that Qiagen personnel can respond to the Laboratory and conduct additional validation testing will be March 2021.
The Crime Laboratory has changed its instrument procurement plan for the Chemistry Unit. The Laboratory has funding in fiscal year 2021 to purchase one new GCMS to replace an aging GCMS instrument and two FTIRs to replace two aging FTIR instruments. The Crime Laboratory now plans to use its funding to purchase one LCMS and one FTIR.
The Crime Laboratory acquired three new Qiacubes in 2020. Currently Biology Unit personnel manually conduct DNA extractions. The Qiacubes will be used to conduct automated DNA extractions. The Qiacubes will be utilized in the processing of sexual assault evidence that has been evaluated both by traditional serological screening and Y-screening.
The Crime Laboratory acquired a new LCMS system in September 2020. This system will be used to quantify THC. We will have to pass an ANAB Assessment and have quantification testing added to our Scope of Accreditation prior to beginning quantification casework. The Crime Laboratory hopes to bring THC quantification testing online between August 2021 and November 2021; however, it should be noted that we have not been able to begin the validation process because we have been unable to procure the necessary Nitrogen generator and consumable supplies.
The Texas Forensic Science Commission has established a Working Group on STRMIX (including a committee focused on validation). The Crime Laboratory has decided to postpone our validation of STRMIX until the Texas Forensic Science Commission has completed their work. The Crime Laboratory reallocated funding that was originally designated for STRMIX validation to DNA outsourcing.
Texas SB1325 took effect when it was signed by Governor Abbott on June 10, 2019, and legalized hemp in the State of Texas. Marijuana and hemp are both Cannabis sativa L plants containing Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. The difference between the two is the quantity of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol present. The Crime Laboratory needed new equipment in order to be able to quantify THC in evidentiary items. The Crime Laboratory has begun the process of setting up the LCMS instrument, but we have not begun the validation process because we do not have the necessary Nitrogen generator and consumables supplies.
If the Chemistry Unit gets an additional chemist, the Crime Laboratory could begin to insource THC quantification cases. This could be a good opportunity for insourcing THC cases from smaller agencies, since we may be the first government laboratory in the area with the ability to conduct THC quantification testing. The Chemistry Unit would have to acquire additional personnel in order to insource THC testing, or the Unit’s turnaround time and backlog would increase. COVID-19 has had a deleterious effect on the City’s budget; I do not foresee funding for an additional chemist position.
December 28, 2020 to January 27, 2021
20 total cases currently in queue
139 total cases completed and reported • 31 BAC cases completed and reported• 108 CS cases completed and reported 6 Rush cases requested - 6 Rush cases completed within 14 days
100% of rush cases completed <14 days100% total cases completed <30 days
Average days to complete case: 1.6 days
"January 28, 2021 to February 24, 2021 20 total cases currently in queue
246 total cases completed and reported • ---58 BAC cases completed and reported; 6 BAC backlogged*• ---188 CS cases completed and reported; 3 CS backlogged* 10 Rush cases requested 10 Rush cases completed within 14 days
Average days to complete case: 3.8 days
*LCMS training scheduled for Feb 23-26, 2021 for all analysts. RUSH cases are completed as promptly as possible, all others are backlogged until after training. "
Analyst: Web based / Articles Training for Professional Development
Jason Allison: 27 / 8Jennifer Naquin:0 / 6Maria Olds: 8 / 14Sharon Patton: 0 / 6Elizabeth Van: 4 / 8Courtney Vito: 0 / 6 Teree Warren: 6 / 20
The Chemistry Unit’s new Waters LCMS system has been installed. At the time of installation it was discovered that the Laboratory’s medical grade air compressor system cannot provide sufficient air pressure to operate the LCMS. Waters arranged to loan the Crime Laboratory a Nitrogen generator that has an integral air compressor, which can provide the necessary pressure to operate the LCMS system. The Chemistry Unit has not received the needed Nitrogen generator or consumable supplies to begin the LCMS validation process. The validation process will take approximately 6 to 9 months.
NEEDS ASSESSEMENT: (6) dry vacuum pumps requested- HIGH priority rating (1) FTIR instrument - funding was approved and the procurement process has begun to replace one FTIR; the current FTIR service contracts ends on March 2021.
(1) LCMS#2 (will be 2nd LCMS) funding has been approved and the process has started for purchase of LCMS #2
Note: after 2020 the existing Laboratory FTIR instruments will not be able to be serviced due to their age. Christianne Kellett located funding for a new FTIR instrument and Supervisor Van has began the RFP process.
"Installed the new LCMS by WATERS vendor. At time of installation, it was discovered that the LAB air compressor, used as air carrier for the LCMS system, is inadequate for the system. A loaner nitrogen-compressor was installed which will deliver adequate air for the system. The additional cost of the nitrogen-compressor system had not been originally in the budget. Additional funds will need to be found in order to purchase the correct nitrogen-compressor for the LCMS system. Original system returned to vendor for credit. Class on software and method developement scheduled from Feb 23-26, 2021. The validation process will take approximately 6 to 9 months.
NEEDS ASSESSEMENT: (6) dry vacuum pumps requested- HIGH priority rating (1) FTIR instruments - funding has been approved, and process has started for purchase to replace oldest FTIR; contract for service ends March 2021. (1) LCMS#2 ( will be 2nd LCMS) funding has been approved and process has started for purchase of LCMS #2
Note: after 2020 the existing Laboratory FTIR instruments will not be able to be serviced due to their age. Christianne Kellett located funding for two new FTIR instruments and Supervisor Van had began the RFP process. "
At our current staffing level, no insourcing of blood alcohol cases from external agencies will be feasible. We have approved Needs Assessments for two additional chemists and one BAC analyst; however, no funds have been allocated. If we insource cases without adding personnel, the Unit’s turnaround time would increase, which would be contrary to the Strategic Goal of reducing Unit turnaround times.
January 1 to January 28, 2020
11 Cases completed. 8 (72.7%) had a turnaround time less than 30 days (average turnaround time is 78.3 days).
10 (90.9%) of 11 cases were completed in the Firearm Unit less than 30 days (The average time to complete a case once it gets into the Unit was 12.3 days).
3 of the 11 cases completed were rush cases. 3 of 3 (100%) were completed in less than 14 days; Average turnaround time was 7.3 days and average time in the unit was 5 days.
No CPIs were completed.
There were 219 entries into NIBIN with 31 leads (14.1% hit rate).
"February 1 to February 25, 2021
2 Cases completed. 1 (50%) had a turnaround time less than 30 days (average turnaround time is 28.5 days).
2 (100%) of 2 cases were completed in the Firearm Unit less than 30 days (The average time to complete a case once it gets into the Unit was 8 days).
No rush cases were completed.
1 of the 2 cases completed was a CPI. 1 of 1 (100%) was completed in less than 14 days; Average turnaround time was 6 days and average time in the unit was 2 days.
There were 170 entries into NIBIN with 21 leads (12.3% hit rate).
Forensic Scientist Sonya Siu became a licensed forensic analyst through the Texas Forensic Science Commission.
On February 21, 2019, Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald approved the Crime Laboratory’s IOC on changes made to NIBIN protocols.
The average turnaround time for all cases completed during January was 3.1 days. There were no rush requests noted during this month.
Latent Print Examiner Heather Wigington is continuing her BS degree program. Latent Print Supervisor Deborah Smith provided training in Creative Problem Solving for CFW Training Partners.
The Latent Print Unit will be providing its extra superglue chamber, and training on its use, to the Gang & Narcotics Units once the COVID-19 crisis has lessened and it is safe to come together for the training. The Latent Print Unit has also offered to assist CSSU with additional processing of evidence and taking on some of the officer training responsibilities, in an effort to maximize the services offered by both units.
As of 1-27-21: Average total turnaround time for January 2021: 405 days. Case assignment to report average turnaround time for January 2021: 209 days. The Biology Unit backlog as of 01-27-21 is 538 case records and 3 requests pending approval. Biology Unit staff are currently working on the interpretation/reporting of a large death penalty case.
The Biology Unit is significantly understaffed. Of 6 positions, 3 are currently vacant and a fourth will be vacant in early February 2021. The remaining members will be the Forensic Supervisor and a Forensic Scientist who is currently on FMLA (scheduled to return in early February).
Forensic Supervisor Cassie Johnson virtually attended a CFW leadership course on bias.