BALTIMORE, MD—U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur on Wednesday announced $2,505,686 in Department of Justice grants to seven entities in Maryland to fund crime laboratories, decrease DNA backlogs, support basic and applied forensic research, and help law enforcement identify missing persons, as part of $192 million in funding to advance forensic science nationwide.
In addition, U.S. Attorney Hur announced that Baltimore County received $1,129,288 in Department of Justice grants to 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, as part of more than $45 million in funding to support the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI).
The grants, totaling $3,634,974, were awarded by the Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP).
“These grants will be used by local jurisdictions in Maryland to advance evidence processing, fund crime labs, decrease backlogs in DNA and sexual assault kit processing, and help identify missing persons,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Hopefully, this will allow law enforcement to solve more crimes, including cold case sexual assaults, and bring justice to victims and their families.”
“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.”
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 federal funding to advance forensic science:
- Baltimore County received $227,697
- Anne Arundel County received $228,151
- Montgomery County received $213,151
- Prince George’s County received $686,869
- Baltimore City received $389,256
- Maryland State Police received $434,484
- The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention received $326,078
OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance also made 36 grants to strengthen jurisdictions’ capacity to act on evidence resulting from rape kits, and three grants to the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence ‒ Inventory, Tracking and Reporting (SAFE-ITR) program.
The award of $1,129,288 made to Baltimore County will support law enforcement and prosecutorial activities related to the testing and use of evidence obtained in sexual assault investigations.
“Far too many people endure the physical and emotional trauma of a sexual assault only to have evidence of the crime remain unanalyzed,” Sullivan added. “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.”
More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.