The Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab gets $293,000 grant to reduce backlog

The Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab got a grant that will allow the facility to process more DNA kits.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s office received a grant for more than $293,000 from the National Institute of Justice for reducing backlog.

Brooke Ehlers, interim director of the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office and the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab, said the grant will help pay for overtime, new software, a part-time analyst and other materials needed for processing DNA kits.

While Montgomery County doesn’t have the amount of backlog that many counties and states have, Ehlers said reducing backlog is “always a concern.”

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“Old kits aren’t sitting around, and we are able to keep on top of our numbers,” Ehlers said. “But the quicker we get those kits processed, the quicker we are getting criminals off the streets and solving those crimes that the law enforcement agencies need.”

The funding is awarded across the state and is awarded based on an agency’s workload. The Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab has been awarded this grant in the past, Ehlers said.

In the past two years, the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab was awarded around $224,000, so this year’s grant was a substantial increase from past years, Ehlers said. The amount awarded to laboratories all over the country also increased, according to the National Institute of Justice’s website.

If the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab didn’t get the grant, Ehlers said it would take longer to process kits and the crime lab may not be able to keep all the personnel employed that are currently on staff.

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With the grant, the crime lab is able to bring on a part time employee to help deal with the volume of work the lab does.

“The Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab is a regional facility, so we service agencies all over Montgomery County,” Ehlers said.

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