Paul Coverdell Forensic Sciences Improvement Grant Program

To improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner services and/or to eliminate backlogs in the analysis of forensic evidence, including controlled substances, firearms examination, forensic pathology, latent prints, questioned documents, toxicology, and trace evidence for
criminal justice purposes.
Examples of Funded Projects

Arizona Criminal Justice Commission $207,068 (base), State of Connecticut - $79,312 (base), Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council - $275,550 (base), Maryland Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention - $125,430, North Dakota - $95,318 (formula), State of Texas - $503,611 (base), Erie County, New York - $54,510, Town of Fishers Police Department, Indiana - $13,994, City of Quincy Massachusetts - $78,783, County of Allegheny Pennsylvania - $70,000.

To obtain information about additional projects funding through this program, potential applicants may contact the National Institute of Justice by addressing correspondence to National Institute of Justice, Office of Science and Technology, 810 7th Street, N.W., Washington, DC, 20531; Telephone: (202) 307-2942.


Agency - Department of Justice

The Department of Justice enforces the law and defends the interest of the United States, ensuring public safety against threats foreign and domestic; providing Federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; seeking just punishment for those guilty of unlawful pursuits; and ensuring fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.



Program Accomplishments

For fiscal years (2006 and 2007), the Paul Coverdell Forensic Sciences Improvement Grant program provided assistance to State and local crime laboratories and medical examiner/coroner's offices to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner services.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Grants may be used to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner services, including services provided by laboratories operated by States and those operated by units of local government.

Among other purposes, funds may be used to eliminate backlogs in the analysis of general forensic evidence, or to train and employ forensic laboratory personnel to eliminate such backlogs.

State Administering Agencies and units of local government may apply directly to NIJ for funding.

Funds may be used for personnel, computerization, laboratory equipment, supplies, accreditation, education, training, and certification, facilities' a formula, found in the funding announcement, determines the limit to the amount of funding that can be used for facilities, and administration expenses (not to exceed 10 percent).

Funds may not be used for expenses other than those listed above.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Coverdell State Administering Agencies and units of local government may apply directly to NIJ for funding.

All applicants for Coverdell grants - whether States or units of local government - must have developed a plan for forensic science laboratories that is designed to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner services, and must specifically describe the manner in which grant funds will be used to carry out that plan.

States are expected to consider the needs of laboratories operated by units of local government as well as those operated by the State.

Any forensic laboratory, forensic laboratory system, medical examiner's office, or coroner's office that will receive any portion of a Coverdell grant must use generally accepted laboratory practices and procedures as established by accrediting organizations or appropriate certifying bodies.

Each applicant for a Coverdell grant must be able to certify with respect to any forensic laboratory system, medical examiner's office, coroner's office, law enforcement storage facility, or medical facility that will receive any portion of the grant that a government entity exists and an appropriate process is in place to conduct independent external investigations into allegations of serious negligence or misconduct by employees or contractors substantially affecting the integrity of forensic results.

Beneficiary Eligibility

In accordance with the Paul Coverdell National Forensic Sciences Improvement Act of 2000, Public Law 106-561, amended by Public Law 107-273, and the amendments in the Justice for All Act, Public Law 108-405, eligible applicants must be State or local (i.e., county and municipal) governments or combinations thereof. The purpose of this solicitation is to request applications for grants from State and local (i.e., county and municipal) governments to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner services and/or to eliminate backlogs in the analysis of forensic evidence, including controlled substances, firearms examination, forensic pathology, latent prints, questioned documents, toxicology, and trace evidence for criminal justice purposes in State and local forensic laboratories.

Credentials/Documentation

The applicant must furnish the following along with the application for a grant: a certification that states there exists a plan for forensic science laboratories that is designed to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner services; a certification that states each forensic laboratory, forensic laboratory system, medical examiner's office, or coroner's office that will receive any portion of a Coverdell grant uses generally accepted laboratory practices and procedures as established by accrediting organizations or appropriate certifying bodies; a certification that states that a government entity exists and an appropriate process is in place to conduct independent external investigations into allegations of serious negligence or misconduct by employees or contractors substantially affecting the integrity of forensic results, and resumes of key personnel. Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-87 for State and local governments.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Potential applicants are encouraged to request the program announcement for additional information about eligibility requirements and application and selection procedures.

The standard application form as furnished by the Federal agency, in accordance with 28 CFR Part 66 (Common Rule), must be used for this program.

Applicants must contact their State Administering Agency to determine if the program has been selected for review by the State.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.

An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

The date that the application was sent to the State Administering Agency or the reason such submission is not required must be included in the application.

A.

Base Funds for States: Seventy-five percent of the funds available for Coverdell grants will be allocated among eligible States based on population (State base funds).

To be eligible, a State must satisfy the specific application requirements outlined in this announcement and all other general requirements for NIJ and OJP grants.

Applications for State base funding must be submitted by the Coverdell State Administering Agency listed on the Office of Justice Programs web site at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/state.htm.

B.

Competitive Funds for States and Units of Local Government: Twenty-five percent of the available funds will be allocated among States and units of local government through a competitive process.

Units of local government that provide forensic science or medical examiner services (whether through a forensic science laboratory, medical examiner's office, or coroner's office) may apply directly to NIJ for competitive funds.

Coverdell State Administering Agencies may apply for competitive funds for forensic sciences improvements above and beyond those it can accomplish with its base funds.

State applications for competitive funding will only be accepted from Coverdell State Administering Agencies.

Other State agencies or departments who wish to apply for competitive funds must coordinate with their respective State Administering Agency.

Application Procedures

Detailed information is provided in a program solicitation which is obtained by sending a self-addressed mailing label to NCJRS, Box 6000, Rockville, MD 20849-6000; calling toll-free to request a copy at (800) 851-3420; or accessing the web site at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij under Funding Opportunities. This program is subject to the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-110 or the Common Rule where applicable. The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) requires that funding applications be submitted electronically through the OJP Grants Management System (GMS), which will be accessed at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/fundopps.htm. On-line submission of an application represents legal binding acceptance of the terms of the application. For further information about GMS, call the OJP GMS Hotline at 1 (888) 549-9901.

Award Procedures

Base applications are reviewed by the program office. The NIJ Director makes the final award decision. Competitive applications will be reviewed by a peer review panel selected for their operational expertise as well as their knowledge in the substantive areas covered by this program. The NIJ Director makes the final award decision.

Deadlines

There is normally one deadline each year, usually in the Spring. The deadline varies based on when program appropriations is passed into law. Program deadline will be included in the announcements on FedGrants at www.fedgrants.gov, on NIJ's website at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/funding.htm, and on the Office of Justice Programs website at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/fundopps.htm.

Authorization

Paul Coverdell National Forensic Sciences Improvement Act of 2000, Public Law 106-561; as amended by Public Law 107-273; as amended by the Justice for All Act of 2004, Public Law 108-405.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

It generally takes 3 to 6 months after the closing date of the announcement to receive Coverdell funding.

Appeals

Hearing by the NIJ Director.

Renewals

None.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Seventy-five percent of the funds available for Coverdell grants will be allocated among eligible States based on population. Twenty-five percent of the available funds will be allocated among States and units of local government through a competitive process. There are no matching requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

In general, NIJ will limit grants under the Coverdell program to a maximum of 12 months.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Each State and unit of local government that receives funding under the Coverdell program must submit semiannual progress reports and quarterly financial status reports for the life of the award.

Fiscal reports consist of quarterly expenditures and budget expenditure reports; the final financial report gives costs and expenditures of the complete project.

In addition, Coverdell grantees must submit a final report that must include a summary and assessment of the program carried out with the fiscal year grant funds and must cite the specific improvements in the quality and/or timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner services (including any reduction in forensic analysis backlog) that occurred as a direct result of the grant award.

Other reports may be requested.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.

Records

Records and accounts concerning the expenditure of Institute and grantee or appointee-contributed funds shall be maintained during the grant period and retained for 3 years thereafter. Each State or local unit of government within the State that receives funding under this program must maintain adequate records relating to the receipt and use of the total grant amount. The Attorney General and the Comptroller General of the United States (or designees thereof) will have access to these records for audit and examination purposes.

Financial Information

Account Identification

15-0404-0-1-754.

Obigations

FY 07 $18,263,718; FY 08 $18,800,000; and FY 09 est. not available.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

In amounts consistent with the applicant's proposed project and the Institute's plans, priorities and levels of financing.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Information about the Coverdell grant announcement may be obtained by calling NCJRS at (800) 851-3420 or accessing the web site at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij under Funding Opportunities.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

None.

Headquarters Office

National Institute of Justice, Department of Justice, 810 7th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20531. Telephone: (202) 307-2942. FTS number is (202) 307-2942.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Base applications are reviewed by the program office. The NIJ Director makes the final award decision. Competitive applications will be reviewed by a peer review panel selected for their operational expertise as well as their knowledge in the substantive areas covered by this solicitation. The NIJ Director makes the final award decision.



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