U.S. Attorney Joe Kelly announced today $2,008,282 in Department of Justice grants to Nebraska 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 (OJP), are part of $192 million in funding to advance forensic science nationwide.
“Developments in forensic science have given investigators an extraordinary array of tools that can be enlisted to solve crimes and bring answers to victims and survivors, often after many years and even decades,” said OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “These investments in crime-fighting technology, from DNA analysis to drug toxicology to forensic anthropology, will help identify and convict perpetrators, ensure justice for innocent victims and keep communities safe by deterring future criminal activity.”
“Several Nebraska agencies are benefitting from these grants designed to enhance our forensic capabilities,” said U.S. Attorney Kelly. “These awards will make available tools to enhance technology and research that will greatly assist the criminal justice system to do its job in protecting the community – especially sexual assault and cold case crimes.”
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 following organizations received funding in the following program areas:
- State of Nebraska – $531,186 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program;
- Nebraska State Patrol – $264,698 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program (helps improve forensic science and medical examiner/coroner services);
- Douglas County – $245,516 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants – received from a competitive award process; and
- City of Omaha – $966,882 National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative – The program promotes the use of multi-disciplinary teams by supporting investigation, prosecution and victim advocacy involved with a comprehensive approach to addressing unsubmitted sexual assault kits. The program also helps 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.
More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.