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Oct 8, 2009 2:04 PM by sleonard

State Crime Labs Awarded $2.4 Million in Grant Money

Attorney General Caldwell: Grant Will Help Us As We Seek Justice for Victims of Crime

WASHINGTON-Congressman Charlie Melancon (LA-03) announced today that the Louisiana State Police has been awarded two grants totaling $2,481,416 from the Department of Justice to improve its crime labs and reduce the backlog of forensic DNA casework samples waiting to be analyzed.
"Expert DNA analysis is a critical tool aiding our law enforcement officers in solving crimes and bringing the guilty to justice," said Rep. Melancon. "This funding will help our judicial system in Louisiana more quickly and fully utilize the potential of DNA evidence. I am pleased to see federal COPS grants being directed at Louisiana to aid our law enforcement officers in this vital effort."
The Louisiana State Police will use the funds to increase public DNA laboratories' capacity and to handle, screen and analyze DNA forensic evidence. The state will be able to conduct DNA analysis more efficiently and more cost effectively.
Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said, "Over the past decade DNA has become a very important investigative tool for law enforcement. But training for DNA analysts and the most up to date equipment is costly. This grant money is crucial in helping State Police handle the enormous workload more swiftly."
Caldwell continued, "I certainly appreciate Congressman Melancon and his efforts in securing this grant. I sincerely thank the Department of Justice for recognizing our need. The Criminal Division at the Attorney General's office often calls on the State Police Crime lab for analysis, so this money will help us as we seek justice for the victims of crime in our state."
The grant is administered through the federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program and is aimed at combating crime by helping states and local government criminal justice systems use DNA technology. Congressman Melancon voted to fund COPS grants, such as today's grants for the Louisiana State Police, when he voted in support of annual funding for the COPS program included in the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009.
Congressman Melancon has been a strong supporter in Congress of federal funding for local law enforcement initiatives, including efforts like the COPS program that work to engage citizens in crime prevention. Among the local law enforcement initiatives that are supported by the COPS Program are community policing development, methamphetamine enforcement, law enforcement technologies, "secure our schools" programs, and child sexual predator elimination programs.
For more information about the grants, or to learn about other law enforcement agencies receiving funding, please visit www.cops.usdoj.gov .

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