Anchorage – U.S. Attorney Schroder announced $1,736,924 in Department of Justice grants to Alaska to fund crime laboratories, decrease DNA backlogs, support basic and applied forensic research, and help law enforcement identify missing persons. The grants, awarded by the Department’s Office of Justice Programs, are part of more than $45 million in funding to support the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) and an additional $192 million in funding to advance forensic science nationwide.
“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, OJP’s 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.”
Department of Justice grants help law enforcement agencies and crime labs process sexual assault evidence and increase the number of sexual assault kits submitted to crime labs in order to solve more crimes, including cold cases, in Alaska. The Alaska Department of Public Safety was awarded $998,791 in grant funding through the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence –Inventory, Tracking and Reporting (SAFE-ITR) Program in support of law enforcement and prosecutorial activities related to the testing and use of evidence obtained in a sexual assault investigation.
“This funding represents the continued commitment of the Department of Justice in addressing violent crime in Alaska.” said U.S. Attorney Schroder, “Each processed rape kit is step closer to justice for the victims.”
Since 2004, the Office of Justice Programs has received an annual appropriation for DNA and other forensic science activities. The funding, administered through OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance 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 Alaska Department of Public Safety received $473,435 under the DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program.
The Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program helps improve forensic science and medical examiner/coroner services, including services provided by laboratories operated by states and units of local government. Funds may be used to eliminate a backlog in the analysis of forensic evidence and to train and employ forensic laboratory personnel. The Alaska Department of Public Safety was awarded $264,698 under this program.