U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman announces more than $2.1 million in DOJ grants to support forensic science and testing, tracking of sexual assault kits in the Northern District | USAO-NDOH
(STL.News) – U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman announced today that the Department of Justice has awarded more than $2.1 million in grant funding to support crime laboratories, decrease DNA backlogs, support basic and applied forensic research, and help law enforcement identify missing persons.
Grant funding was also made available to support the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), which helps law enforcement agencies and crime labs process sexual assault evidence and increase the number of sexual assault kits submitted to crime labs.
“Funding crucial sciences and programs such as the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative will have a significant positive impact on the number of active criminal and cold cases that law enforcement agencies can process and solve,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “Not only do these research sciences and kits go a long way to support law enforcement, but they also bring much-needed hope to victims and their families that they will one day see justice.”
“Far too many people endure the physical and emotional trauma of a sexual assault only to have evidence of the crime remain unanalyzed,” said Katharine T. Sullivan, Office of Justice Programs Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General. “These grants will help investigators get these kits to labs, where they can be tested, used to solve crimes and ultimately bring justice to victims.”
Since 2004, the DOJ Office of Justice Programs (OJP) has received an annual appropriation for DNA and other forensic science activities. The funding, administered through OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and National Institute of Justice, supports DNA analysis, laboratory capacity enhancement and forensic science research that provides knowledge and tools to improve the quality and practice of forensic science. The following organizations have received funding under this program:
- Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office – $492,041
- Lake County – $256,361
- City of Mansfield – $250,000
In addition, the OJP BJA has made grant funding available to strengthen an individual jurisdictions’ capacity to act on evidence resulting from rape kits and to support the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence ‒ Inventory, Tracking and Reporting (SAFE-ITR) program. These awards will assist law enforcement and prosecutorial activities related to the testing and use of evidence obtained in a sexual assault investigation. The following organizations have received funding under this program:
- Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office – $1,000,000
- City of Akron – $150,000