The objectives of our audit were to evaluate the:
- administration and oversight of the Program by OJP;
- oversight of contractor laboratories by states receiving Program funds;
- allowability of costs charged to Program awards; and
- progress made toward the achievement of Program goals.
We conducted our audit in accordance with Government Auditing Standards. We included such tests as were considered necessary to accomplish the audit objectives.
The audit generally covered the period from the award of the Program's first year grants from July 2002 to September 2002 through the completion of audit fieldwork in May 2004.
Audit work was conducted at the NIJ and at the four states receiving the largest awards that had, or were expected to have, drawdowns in excess of $500,000 at the time of our fieldwork. Within each grantee state, we visited the primary OJP grantee and other co-grantees that were selected based on: 1) the contractor laboratory they used for outsourcing and 2) whether we had audited the agency in the past. In addition, we visited four contractor laboratories from three different companies. These laboratories were selected based on the amount of funding they received from the Program.
We conducted onsite work at the NIJ on two separate occasions. During our first visit in November 2003, we conducted initial analysis on the Program and its grantees, including grantees’ intended use of funds and OJP administration activities. During our second visit in May 2004, we attended a DNA Summit organized by the NIJ to inform and communicate with representatives of laboratories across the country regarding the status and future of the Program. In addition, we interviewed staff members at the NIJ and reviewed the FY 2001 and FY 2003 award files for all grantees to obtain information relating to the award process, to assess FY 2003 application funding requests, and to obtain compliance and certification information.
The following is a list of the four grantees that were audited:
- Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, London, Ohio (completed during the survey phase of the audit)
- Texas Department of Public Safety, Austin, Texas
- Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Tallahassee, Florida
- New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, Albany, New York
Each of the above states had several co-grantees, for which we also collected and reviewed documentation, as follows:
- Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation Laboratories in London, Bowling Green, and Richfield
- Canton-Stark County Crime Laboratory
- Cleveland Police Department Forensic Laboratory
- Columbus Police Department Crime Laboratory
- Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office
- Hamilton County Coroner's Office
- Lake County Regional Crime Laboratory
- Mansfield Police Department Crime Laboratory
- Miami Valley Regional Crime Laboratory
- Texas Department of Public Safety Laboratories in Austin, Corpus Christi, Garland, Waco, Houston, Macallen, Lubbock, and El Paso
- Harris County Medical Examiner
- Houston Police Department
- Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences
- Tarrant County Medical Examiner
- Florida Department of Law Enforcement Laboratories in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Orlando, and Tampa
- Miami-Dade Police Department
- Broward County Sheriff's Office
- Indian River Crime Laboratory
- Erie County Department of Central Police Services Forensic Laboratory
- New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
- New York City Police Department
- Onondaga County Center for Forensic Sciences
- Suffolk County Crime Laboratory
- Westchester County Department of Laboratories and Research Forensic Science Laboratory
- Niagara County Sheriff's Department Forensic Laboratory
The information collected and reviewed for each of these agencies was dependent upon whether the co-grantee conducted the analysis of no-suspect casework in-house or via outsourcing. To assess their compliance with the Program Solicitation and relevant sections of the QAS, we performed the following procedures:
- For those co-grantees that outsourced, we collected and reviewed documentation of site visits to contractor laboratories, outsourcing contracts, evidence handling and chain-of-custody protocols and procedures, data review policies and procedures, contractor laboratory QAS documentation and accreditation information, and CODIS Specimen ID reports.
- For those co-grantees that conducted analysis in-house, we collected and reviewed the prior two external and internal QAS audit reports, accreditation information, Technical Leader information, analytical standard operating procedures, productivity statistics for 2001, 2002, and 2003, and CODIS Specimen ID reports.
In addition, we physically visited the following co-grantees:
- Fort Worth Police Department, Fort Worth, Texas
- Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Regional Operations Center Laboratory in Jacksonville, Florida; and Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office in Palm Beach, Florida
- New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center in Albany, New York; Monroe County Public Safety Laboratory in Rochester, New York; and Nassau County Police Department Forensic Evidence Bureau and Nassau County Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Plainview, New York
For each of these co-grantees, we assessed their compliance with the Program Solicitation and relevant sections of the QAS pertaining to evidence handling and chain-of-custody, using the following procedures:
- Toured the laboratory facilities, to physically verify each grantee laboratory's adherence to its own policies regarding chain-of-custody and evidence handling, as well as to observe compliance with various QAS issues.
- Interviewed officials and reviewed documentation to ensure each co-grantee's compliance with Program requirements relating to the oversight of their contractor laboratories.
- Reviewed a judgmentally selected sample of case files to ensure that adequate documentation was present relating to the maintenance of chain-of-custody, proper evidence handling, the DNA analysis process, and reviews of the file documentation. In addition, we reviewed the case files to assess the timeframe for the analysis, review, and upload of profiles into CODIS.
- Interviewed grantee officials to obtain an understanding of the billing process and procedures used to ensure that grantees were only paying for analysis actually performed.
- Reviewed the internal and external QAS audits for the prior two years to identify any control weaknesses or significant noncompliance issues with the QAS, and to ensure that timely corrective actions were taken for any material findings.
In addition, for all grantees and co-grantees, we compared reports generated at each laboratory of cases analyzed with Program funds to CODIS Specimen ID Reports in order to determine whether profiles were being uploaded on a timely basis, or to determine the reasons for profiles not being uploaded.
We also examined procedures at the following four contractor laboratories:
- Orchid Cellmark, Germantown, Maryland; and Dallas, Texas
- The Bode Technology Group, Inc., Springfield, Virginia
- Laboratory Corporation of America, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
At these laboratories, we verified compliance with relevant sections of the QAS pertaining to chain-of-custody and evidence handling, and ensured that they complied with grantee requirements, using the following procedures:
- Toured the laboratory facilities, where applicable, to physically verify each grantee laboratory's adherence to its own policies regarding chain-of-custody and evidence handling, as well as to observe compliance with various QAS issues.
- Reviewed a judgmentally selected sample of case files (same cases as were selected at the grantees and co-grantees) to ensure that adequate documentation was present relating to the maintenance of chain-of-custody, proper evidence handling, the DNA analysis process, and reviews of the file documentation.
- Reviewed the internal and external QAS audits for the prior two years to identify any control weaknesses or significant non-compliance issues with the QAS, and to ensure that timely corrective actions were taken for any material findings.
- Interviewed grantee officials to obtain an understanding of the billing process and procedures used to ensure that grantees were only paying for analyses actually performed.
- Interviewed laboratory officials and reviewed documentation to ensure compliance with any specific requirements of each individual grantee laboratory.
In addition to the above audit steps, individual audits were conducted on each of the four primary NIJ grantees selected for review. Separate audit reports were issued to OJP for each of these audits, as follows:
- The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, London, Ohio, Audit Report No. GR-60-04-005, issued March 2004;
- The Texas Department of Public Safety, Austin, Texas, Audit Report No. GR-80-04-008, issued September 2004;
- The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, Albany, New York, Audit Report No. GR-70-04-008, issued September 2004; and
- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Tallahassee, Florida, Audit Report No. GR-40-04-009, issued September 2004.
For each of these grantees, OIG Audit Division staff assessed the grantee's compliance with key elements of the Program Solicitation and with relevant sections of the OJP Financial Guide. The procedures used were not significantly different from those commonly used by the OIG Audit Division for general grant audits. The audit steps were modified to be more specific to the Program by including steps to assess the grantee's monitoring of contractor laboratories, and provided more specific information on allowable and unallowable uses of Program funds. The assist audit teams tested compliance with what we considered to be the most important conditions of the awards, and performed the following procedures:
- Tested compliance and reviewed documentation for Program activities in the following areas: drawdowns, budget management and control, award expenditures, financial status and progress reporting, compliance with regulations, and monitoring of co-grantees.
- Reviewed the most recent Single Audit Report to identify control weaknesses and significant non-compliance issues related to the grantee or to Federal programs in general.
- Performed limited testing of source documents to assess the accuracy of reimbursement requests and financial status reports; however, we did not test the reliability of the financial management system as a whole.
Reviewed source documents for a judgmentally selected sample of expenditures to ensure they were allowable and properly supported.