Paul Coverdell Forensic Sciences Improvement Grant Program

To improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner services.

Among other things, funds may be used to eliminate a backlog in the analysis of forensic evidence and to train and employ forensic laboratory personnel and medicolegal death investigators, as needed, to eliminate
such a backlog.
Examples of Funded Projects

Fiscal Year 2017: See the NIJ website at www.nij.gov.

Information on past awarded NIJ projects can be accessed at www.nij.gov/funding/awards/Pages/welcome.aspx.

Fiscal Year 2018: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2019: No Current Data Available


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.

Website Address

https://www.nij.gov




Selected Recipients for this Program


RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
North Carolina Department Of Public Safety $ 609,312   2019-01-012019-12-31
Ohio Office Of Criminal Justice Services $ 691,468   2019-01-012019-12-31
Nys Division Of Criminal Justice Services $ 1,177,260   2019-01-012019-12-31
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority $ 759,283   2019-01-012019-12-31
Governor, Texas Office Of The $ 1,678,735   2019-01-012019-12-31
Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Georgia $ 618,562   2019-01-012019-12-31
North Dakota Attorney General $ 271,960   2019-01-012019-12-31
Office Of Emergency Services $ 2,344,903   2019-01-012019-12-31
Law Enforcement, Florida Department Of $ 1,244,577   2019-01-012019-12-31
Pennsylvania Commission On Crime And Delinquency $ 759,491   2019-01-012019-12-31



Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2017: The Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement (Coverdell) Program has substantially contributed to the increase of quality and timeliness of forensic science in state and local forensic laboratories and medical examiner/coroner?s offices. Coverdell funding has been utilized to: provide training and certification(s) to forensic practitioners across the many forensic science disciplines including firearms examination, latent prints, impression evidence, toxicology, digital evidence, fire evidence, controlled substances, forensic pathology, questioned documents, and trace evidence; increase the availability of overtime for analysts; hire additional analysts to reduce evidence backlogs; purchase and/or upgrade laboratory instruments and equipment to increase throughput, decrease turn-around time, replace outdated and/or inoperable equipment and instruments; and assist laboratories to achieve accreditation thereby increasing the level of quality of the forensic science services.. Fiscal Year 2018: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2019: No Current Data Available

Uses and Use Restrictions

Under the Coverdell program, SAAs may apply for both ?base? (formula) and competitive funds.

Units of local government may apply for competitive funds.

Coverdell SAAs and units of local government may apply directly to NIJ for funding.

Approximately 85 percent of the funds available for Coverdell grants will be allocated among eligible States based on population (State ?base? funds).

The Coverdell statute requires that the remaining 15 percent of program funds be awarded competitively.

A State or unit of local government that receives a Coverdell grant must use the grant for one or more of these six purposes: 1. To carry out all or a substantial part of a program intended to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner/coroner?s office services in the State, including those services provided by laboratories operated by the State and those operated by units of local government within the State. 2. To eliminate a backlog in the analysis of forensic science evidence, including, among other things, a backlog with respect to firearms examination, latent prints, impression evidence, toxicology, digital evidence, fire evidence, controlled substances, forensic pathology, questioned documents, and trace evidence. 3. To train, assist, and employ forensic laboratory personnel and medicolegal death investigators, as needed to eliminate such a backlog. 4. To address emerging forensic science issues (such as statistics, contextual bias, and uncertainty of measurement) and emerging forensic science technology (such as high throughput automation, statistical software, and new types of instrumentation). 5. To educate and train forensic pathologists. 6. To fund medicolegal death investigation systems to facilitate accreditation of medical examiner and coroner offices and certification of medicolegal death investigators. Funds may be used for personnel, computerization, laboratory equipment, supplies, accreditation, education, training, certification, facilities (the Coverdell law limits the amount of funds that may be used for the costs of a new facility or facilities), and administrative expenses (not to exceed 10 percent of the total amount of a Coverdell grant).

Expenses that are not permitted include expenses other than those listed above (including expenses for general law enforcement functions or non-forensic investigatory functions), costs for any new facility that exceed the limits described by the Coverdell law, recipient administrative expenses (direct or indirect) that exceed 10 percent of the total grant amount, and/or the use of funds for the purchase and/or lease of vehicles, such as crime scene vans.

Coverdell ?competitive? funds may be awarded to SAAs or dispersed directly to units of local government based on the merits of the respective applications.

States and local governments that provide forensic -science or medical- examiner services may apply for the competitive funding. Applications for competitive funding are reviewed by an independent panel made up of subject -matter experts from the forensic science community.

The panelists review and rate the applications individually based on specific evaluation criteria specified in the solicitation.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Under the Coverdell program, SAAs may apply for both ?base? (formula) and competitive funds.

Units of local government may apply for competitive funds.

Coverdell SAAs and units of local government may apply directly to NIJ for funding.

The Coverdell law (at 34 USC 10562) requires that, to request a grant, an applicant for Coverdell funds must submit: 1.

A certification and description regarding a plan for forensic science laboratories.

Each applicant must submit a certification that the State or unit of local government has developed a plan for forensic science laboratories under a program intended to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner services in the State, including such services provided by the laboratories operated by the State and those operated by units of local government within the State.

Applicants must also specifically describe the manner in which the grant will be used to carry out that plan. 2.

A certification regarding use of generally accepted laboratory practices.

Each applicant must submit a certification that any forensic laboratory system, medical examiner?s office, or coroner?s office in the State, including any laboratory operated by a unit of local government within the State, that will receive any portion of the grant amount (whether directly or through a subgrant) uses generally accepted laboratory practices and procedures established by accrediting organizations or appropriate certifying bodies. 3.

A certification regarding forensic science laboratory accreditation.

Each applicant must submit a certification that any forensic science laboratory system in the State, including any laboratory operated by a unit of local government within the State, that will receive any portion of the grant amount (whether directly or through a subgrant) either is accredited, or, is not so accredited, but will (or will be required in a legally binding and enforceable writing to) use a portion of the grant amount to prepare and apply for such accreditation not more than two (2) years after the date on which a grant is awarded under the FY 2017 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program. 4.

A certification and description regarding costs of new facilities.

Each applicant must submit a certification that the amount of the grant used for the costs of any new facility constructed as part of a program to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner services will not exceed certain limitations set forth in the Coverdell law at 34 USC 10562.

(See information on ?permissible expenses? in the next section of this solicitation.) Applicants must also specifically describe any new facility to be constructed as well as the estimated costs of the facility. 5.

A certification regarding external investigations into allegations of serious negligence or misconduct.

Each applicant must submit a certification that ?a government entity exists and an appropriate process is in place to conduct independent external investigations into allegations of serious negligence or misconduct substantially affecting the integrity of the forensic results committed by employees or contractors of any forensic laboratory system, medical examiner office, coroner?s office, law enforcement storage facility, or medical facility in the State that will receive a portion of the grant amount.?.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Eligible applicants must be State or local (i.e., county and municipal) governments. The purpose of this solicitation is to request applications for grants from State and units of local government 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 firearms examination, latent prints, impression evidence, toxicology, digital evidence, fire evidence, controlled substances, forensic pathology, questioned documents, 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 regarding forensic science laboratory accreditation except with regard to any medical examiner's office, or coroner's office in the State; 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. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.

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.

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

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

A.

Base Funds for States: Eighty-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: https://ojp.gov/saa/ B.

Competitive Funds for States and Units of Local Government: Fifteen 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 SAAs 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 SAAs.

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

An environmental impact assessment is required for this program.

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.

Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. See the current fiscal year?s solicitation available at www.nij.gov.

Award Procedures

NIJ reviews program funding applications to make sure that the information presented is reasonable, understandable, measurable, and achievable, as well as consistent with the solicitation. NIJ will also review applications to ensure statutory requirements have been met. Peer reviewers will review requests for competitive funds submitted under the solicitation that meet basic minimum requirements. NIJ may use internal peer reviewers (DOJ employees), external peer reviewers, or a combination, to assess competitive requests under the program meeting basic minimum requirements on technical merit using the solicitation?s selection criteria. Peer reviewers? ratings and any resulting recommendations are advisory only, although their views are considered carefully. Absent explicit statutory authorization or written delegation of authority to the contrary, the Assistant Attorney General (AAG) will make all final award decisions. With respect to requests for competitive funds, the AAG may also give consideration to factors including, but not limited to, peer review ratings, underserved populations, geographic diversity, strategic priorities, past performance, and available funding when making awards.

Deadlines

Not Applicable.

Authorization

Title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, Part BB, Sections 2801 - 2806, Pub. L. No. 90-351, 34 USC 10561 - 34 USC 10566 and an act appropriating funds for the Department of Justice in the current fiscal year.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

See the current fiscal year?s solicitation available at www.nij.gov.

Appeals

For statutory formula awards, see 28 C.F.R. Part 18. There are no appeal rights for rejection of a discretionary application, but for discretionary awards, see 28 C.F.R. Part 18.

Renewals

Not Applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory Formula: 34 USC 10563. This program has no matching requirements. This program does not have MOE requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

In general, NIJ will limit grants under the Coverdell program to a maximum of 12 months. See the current fiscal year?s solicitation available at www.nij.gov, and the DOJ Grants Financial Guide at http://ojp.gov/financialguide/DOJ/index.htm. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: See the current fiscal year?s solicitation available at www.nij.gov, and the Department of Justice Grants Financial Guide, available at http://ojp.gov/financialguide/DOJ/index.htm.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

See the current fiscal year?s solicitation available at www.nij.gov, and the Department of Justice Grants Financial Guide, available at http://ojp.gov/financialguide/DOJ/index.htm.

No cash reports are required.

See the current fiscal year?s solicitation available at www.nij.gov, and the DOJ Grants Financial Guide, available at www.ojp.gov.

See the current fiscal year?s solicitation available at www.nij.gov, and the DOJ Grants Financial Guide, available at www.ojp.gov.

See the current fiscal year?s solicitation available at www.nij.gov, and the Department of Justice Grants Financial Guide, available at http://ojp.gov/financialguide/DOJ/index.htm.

.

To assist the Department with fulfilling its responsibilities under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), Public Law 103-62, and the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010, Public Law 111?352, applicants that receive funding under this program must provide data that measure the results of their work done under this solicitation.

Performance measures and data expected to be provided are as specified in the current fiscal year?s solicitation.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. See 2 CFR 200 for audit requirements.

Records

See 2 C.F.R . 200.334 for the government-wide requirements for retention requirements for records.

Financial Information

Account Identification

15-0404-0-1-754.

Obigations

(Formula Grants) FY 17 Not Separately Identifiable; FY 18 est $13,000,000; and FY 19 Not Separately Identifiable

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

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

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

See 2 CFR Part 200, 2 CFR Part 2800, the current fiscal year?s solicitation available at www.nij.gov, and the DOJ Grants Financial Guide, available at www.ojp.gov.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

None.

Headquarters Office

NIJ U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs National Institute of Justice 810 7th Street, N.W., Washington, District of Columbia 20531 Phone: (202) 307-2942.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

See the current fiscal year?s solicitation available at www.nij.gov.



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