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U.S. Department of Justice: Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence-Inventory, Tracking, and Reporting Program (SAFE-ITR)

Deadline: May 20, 2019

The Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence-Inventory, Tracking, and Reporting (SAFE-ITR) program will help defray costs associated with the following three tasks:

  • Task 1: Inventory. The term “inventory refers to a detailed and descriptive list of articles or items (for the purposes of this solicitation, Sexual Assault Kits [SAKs]) containing information such as, but not limited to: item identifiers, quantity, and location of the item.
  • Task 2: Tracking. The term “tracking” refers to the monitoring and accounting of SAKs through the course, or path, of their movement from collection through final disposition.
  • Task 3: Reporting. The term “reporting” refers to the task of delivering a written report to the appropriate entity within the prescribed time period and with the applicable data provided.

Funds may be requested for all three tasks, or — if an inventory has already been completed — for tasks 2 and 3 only. For applicants funded under this program, upon completion of the inventory, whether completed using the federal grant funds from this program or other applicant funding sources, the applicant must submit a certification of inventory completion. Program narratives should address all three of the aforementioned tasks, even if funding is not requested for all tasks. For example, if an inventory has already been completed, the applicant should provide information regarding the results of the inventory. Applicants may design project plans (or strategies) to include concurrent tasks; however, the inventory task is a priority.

All three tasks are applicable to all SAKs within the possession of an applicant:

Task 1: Inventory of all existing SAKs in the possession of an applicant. Applicants must inventory all existing SAKs in the applicant’s possession. For applicants that will be conducting an inventory, a count of the SAKs in the applicant’s possession must be provided. A recipient (or subrecipient) of a grant under this program must complete this inventory by no later than one year after it receives the grant. As part of conducting its inventory or, for applicants requesting funds to begin at task 2, as part of the implementation of any tracking system, a recipient under this program will be required to assign a unique numeric or alphanumeric identifier to each sample of sexual assault evidence in its possession. The recipient also must identify the date or dates after which the state or unit of local government would be barred by any applicable statute of limitations from prosecuting a perpetrator in the case to which the sample of sexual assault evidence relates. If an eligible applicant has completed an inventory of all SAKs in its possession, then the applicant must submit a certification from the applicant jurisdiction’s chief law enforcement officer indicating the inventory is complete and accurate, and how many SAKs are currently (as of the date of the certification) in the applicant’s possession. For an award that includes funds to complete Task 1: Inventory, this certification must be submitted prior to the initiation of any other tasks, as outlined in the application. Regarding the inventory task, an applicant, in the project plan, should address:

  • How it will complete an inventory of the SAKs in its possession in the given time frame of 12 months after the grant is received
  • How it will identify, manage, or process — specifically including its prioritization (for testing) of soon-to-be-time-barred cases, as applicable — SAKs in its possession for which a statute(s) of limitations will expire

The Best Practices guide recommends that law enforcement agencies and crime laboratories partner to use one evidence tracking system. Applicants should keep this in mind for tasks 1 and 2. Applicants should also consider:

  • A comprehensive inventory should be conducted to determine the number, status, location, and individual descriptive information (e.g., unique kit identifier, date collected) for all SAKs
  • Law enforcement agencies should perform an annual audit verifying that all SAKs in the property room are present and in their specified location

Task 2: Track movement of SAKs for a period not less than 12 months. For 12 months or more after the certification date of a completed inventory under this program, an applicant must track SAKs from the time the applicant takes possession of the SAK through final disposition of the case. Project plans should be designed to allow Task 2: Tracking and Task 3: Reporting activities to occur concurrently.

Applicants should consider:

  • Law enforcement agencies should submit the SAK to the laboratory for analysis as soon as possible, ideally, no later than seven business days from the collection of the SAK, or as specified by statute
  • Law enforcement or laboratories should be responsible for the long-term storage of all SAKs, unless applicable law provides otherwise

Tracking Requirements:

  • The chief law enforcement officer of the applicant state or unit of local government must be the identified individual accountable for compliance and reporting within the applicant jurisdiction
  • The chief law enforcement officer can appoint a designee as long as the designee is not an employee of any governmental laboratory or vendor laboratory

If funded, the applicant must track SAKs in accordance with the following requirements:

  • For each sample of sexual assault evidence in its possession, a unique numeric or alphanumeric identifier must be assigned
  • The applicant must identify the date(s) after which the state or unit of local government would be barred by an applicable statute(s) of limitations from prosecuting a perpetrator in the case to which the sample of sexual assault evidence relates
  • For SAKs not in the possession of the applicant at the initiation of the program, by not later than 60 days after receiving possession, the applicant must incorporate the SAK into the inventory, track it consistent with its required tracking protocol, and incorporate any associated SAK data into the required metrics listed under task 3

Task 3: Reporting the tracking results. Reporting requirements include reports, as well as posting of required metrics, every 60 days on an applicant’s website. An applicant must report during the 12-month period in which it tracks SAKs in its possession (see Task 2: Tracking). All 60-day reports captured by an applicant must be included in the semi-annual progress reports. In addition to posting required metrics (as detailed further below) on the applicant’s website, the applicant must provide its 60-day report data in an electronic format — contemporaneously with the recipient’s publication of such data on the applicant’s own website. Such data will be used to update a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) website that publishes 60-day report information from all SAFE-ITR grantees.

The goal of the SAFE-ITR program is to establish and maintain accountability for participants in the criminal justice system as it relates to sexual assaults and sexual assault evidence collection and analysis. The objectives include:

  • To gain an understanding of the number of SAKs that remain in possession of law enforcement agencies
  • To understand the movement of SAKs through the criminal justice system

Establishing and maintaining accountability for law enforcement and laboratories will help ensure that evidence is promptly submitted to and analyzed by an accredited laboratory. Once analyzed, sexual assault evidence can provide investigative leads to the law enforcement agency, allowing the perpetrator to be apprehended before more crimes are committed.

Amount: Approximately $4,750,000 is available to make up to four awards of up to $1,000,000 each with a period of performance of up to 36 months.

Eligibility: States and units of local government that collect, store, maintain, and/or send forensic DNA evidence to an existing and accredited crime laboratory that complies with the DNA Quality Assurance Standards and participates in the National DNA Index System (NDIS).

Link: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=314054

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