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Cold Cases: Resources for Agencies, Resolution for Families

NCJ Number
National Institute of Justice Journal Issue: 260 Dated: July 2008 Pages: 20-23
Date Published
July 2008
4 pages
Publication Series
This article describes the features and benefits of the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) cold-case grant program, whose goal is to facilitate the analysis or reanalysis of DNA evidence in an effort to solve "cold cases," defined by NIJ as "any case whose probative investigative leads have been exhausted," regardless of the length of time that has passed since this occurred.
The goal of NIJ's cold case grant program is to analyze or reanalyze evidence, using modern DNA technology. In 2005, NIJ awarded $14.2 million to 38 State and local agencies; in 2007, NIJ awarded just over $8 million to 21 State and local agencies. These funds have been used for personnel, including overtime; equipment and supplies, both investigative and laboratory; investigative travel; training related to cold-case investigation or DNA analysis; and outsourcing samples to private DNA laboratories when necessary. This grant program has given agencies the resources needed to solve homicides, sexual assaults, and other violent offenses that might otherwise never have been reviewed or reinvestigated. This effort is significant, because crime-scene evidence samples thought to be unsuitable for testing several years ago have yielded DNA profiles. Also, samples that previously produced inconclusive DNA results have been reanalyzed using newer methods. This article provides three examples of how NIJ grants have facilitated solving cold cases. They come from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department (Florida), the Fresno Police Department (California), and the Sacramento Police Department (California). 4 notes

Date Published: July 1, 2008