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Coverdell

Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program

CFDA #16.742

The Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program (Coverdell) awards grants to States and units of local government to help 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, as needed, to eliminate such a backlog.

See Coverdell Federal Legislative Authority

Coverdell subrecipients must adhere to all requirements in the  applicable OMB Circulars and Common Rules (Appendix T), the DOJ Grants Financial Guide, the OMB Uniform Guidance, and the 2020 Compliance Supplement.

 

The Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program (Coverdell) awards grants to States and units of local government to help 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, as needed, to eliminate such a backlog.

The result of Coverdell grants to applicant should be a demonstrated improvement over current operations in the quality and/or timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner services provided in the State, including services provided by laboratories operated by the State and services provided by laboratories operated by units of local government within the State. Reduction of forensic analysis backlogs is considered an improvement in timeliness of services. The result of Coverdell grants directly to units of local government should be a demonstrated improvement over current operations in the quality and/or timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner services provided by the local jurisdiction.

The Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program is administered by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

The intent of the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Formula Grant Program is to meet the challenges of crime and justice by providing the tools needed to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner services. 

The Coverdell law (at 42 U.S.C. § 3797k) requires that, to request a grant, an applicant (the agency applying directly to NIJ) for the Coverdell funds must submit:

  1. A certification and description regarding a plan for forensic science laboratories.
  2. A certification regarding use of generally accepted laboratory practices.
  3. A certification and description regarding costs of new facilities.
  4. A certification regarding external investigations into allegations of serious negligence or misconduct. See Coverdell Misconduct Report.

Any certification that is submitted must be executed by an official who is both familiar with the requirements of the certification and authorized to make the certification on behalf of the applicant agency (that is, the agency applying directly to NIJ).

Important Note on Referrals in Connection With Allegations of Serious Negligence or Serious Misconduct: The highest standards of integrity in the practice of forensic science are critical to the enhancement of the administration of justice. OCJP requires all subrecipients of Coverdell funds to make use of the process referenced in their certification as to external investigations and to refer allegations of serious negligence or misconduct substantially affecting the integrity of forensic results to OCJP and other government entities with an appropriate process in place to conduct independent external investigations, such as the government entities identified in the grant application.

Each agency receiving funding from the Coverdell Program through NIJ as a sub-grantee of OCJP must have a written, OCJP approved policy(s) in place to address and refer any allegations of serious negligence and/or misconduct from internal or external sources. In addition, each subrecipient;must follow OCJP’s established guidelines for reporting allegations of serious neglect and/or misconduct.  These guidelines are provided to each subrecipient agency annually and are available, by request, from the OCJP Program Manager who oversees the Coverdell fund source and/or from the Assistant Director of OCJP Criminal Justice Unit

For each fiscal year of an award made, recipients will be required to report the following information to OCJP who will subsequently report this information to NIJ on an annual basis:​

  • The number and nature of any such allegations;
  • Information on the referrals of such allegations (e.g., the government entity or entities to which referred, the date of referral);
  • The outcome of such referrals (if known as of the date of the report); and
  • If any such allegations were not referred, the reason(s) for the non-referral.

If no allegations were received by the subrecipient during the Federal Fiscal Year, then a statement is included in the final semi-annual progress report stating such. However, if allegations of serious neglect and/or misconduct were received by the subrecipient, the subrecipient must document and report the allegation(s) in accordance with OCJP guidelines and its own policies and procedures regarding this matter in a timely manner. See Coverdell Misconduct Report.

All reporting requirements must be completed accurately and submitted on time.

Coverdell grants generally are limited to a 12-month period. Applicants are asked to establish a project period of October 1stthrough September 30th.

Project directors are encouraged to make the results and accomplishments of their activities available to the public.  To assist in information sharing, the award recipient shall provide the NIJ program manager with a copy of all interim and final reports and proposed publications (including those prepared for conferences and other presentations) resulting from this award.  Submission of such materials, prior to or simultaneous with their public release, aids NIJ in responding to any inquiries that may arise.

A subrecipient who publicizes project activities and results shall adhere to the following:

  1. Responsibility for the direction of the project should not be ascribed to the Department of Justice or the Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs.
  2. All reports, studies, notices, informational pamphlets, press releases, signs, and similar public notices (written, visual or sound) prepared and released by the Grantee (whether published at the recipient’s or government’s expense) shall include the following statement:

    “This project is funded under an agreement with the State of Tennessee, Department of Finance and Administration, Office of Criminal Justice Programs and is supported by Award No. ______________, awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice.  The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice”

    The NIJ defines publications as any planned, written, visual, or sound materials substantively based on the project, formally prepared by the award recipient for dissemination to the public.

    The Federal Awards number may be obtained from your OCJP Program Manager.

The Project Director is responsible for timely submission of completed program and fiscal reports. Inability to submit required reports in a timely fashion is considered a failure of required contract obligations.

NOTE: The subrecipient is required to gather and maintain statistical data relating to grant project activities as required by the Office of Criminal Justice Programs. The data collected should support the information submitted on the annual reports. OCJP may periodically request to see the back-up data that supports the information submitted on your output and outcome reports.

See Coverdell Reporting Table

This Page Last Updated: August 24, 2020 at 10:05 AM