On September 16, 2019, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) announced that the Verdugo Regional Crime Laboratory (VRCL) in Glendale has been awarded $253,897 through the FY19 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program administered by the Department of Justice (DOJ). This funding will help the lab increase capacity and more quickly process DNA evidence, including sexual assault kits. The DNA Lab serves Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, and the surrounding communities.
“The Verdugo Regional Crime Laboratory continues to improve public safety in Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, and our surrounding communities by serving law enforcement as they investigate a range of crimes, including the most serious violent offenses,” said Rep. Adam Schiff. “This new funding will further augment the lab’s capacity to process DNA evidence, reducing turnaround times for crime scene evidence. I am proud of the important role VRCL continues to play in our community.”
“In applying for the grant, the Verdugo Regional Crime Laboratory conducted a needs assessment and identified projects required to fulfill the grant objectives to positively impact the laboratory’s ability to reduce turnaround time and increase sample capacity,” said VRCL Lab Director, C. Nguyen. “The laboratory plans to address these grant goals by expanding evidence processing space and adding instrumentation to more efficiently process DNA samples. This award will be specifically used to meet the goal of increased sample capacity resulting in more cases completed per analyst with shorter case turnaround times.”
According to the Department of Justice, in order to address increase demands in DNA testing and the existing DNA backlog, funds will be used to renovate current laboratory and office space to increase workflow and create additional laboratory examination space. With the expanded laboratory space, the VRCL Forensic Biology Unit will be able to increase sample capacity and reduce the number of backlogged cases by addressing bottlenecks in evidence processing.
In 2009, Schiff helped secure $1.5 million to build the Lab as part of the appropriations process. In 2010, Schiff secured an additional $1 million to expand and fully fund the Lab. Since securing the initial funding to help build and expand the lab, Schiff has consistently supported additional funding and grants for the program through the appropriations and grants process.