Office of Planning and Budgeting

Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program
The Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant Program (Coverdell) is a federal project grant administered by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP) with the goal of improving the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner/coroner services, including services provided by laboratories operated by states and units of local government. 
The federal Coverdell program guidelines require funding to be used for one or more of the following purposes:
  1. To carry out all or a substantial part of a program intended to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner/coroner services in the state, including those services provided by laboratories operated by the state and those operated by units of local government within the state.
  2. To eliminate a backlog in the analysis of forensic science evidence, including, among other things, a backlog with respect to firearms examination, latent prints, toxicology, controlled substances, forensic pathology, questioned documents, and trace evidence.
  3. To train, assist, and employ forensic laboratory personnel, as needed, to eliminate such a backlog.
  4. To address emerging forensic science issues (such as statistics, contextual bias, and uncertainty of measurement) and emerging forensic science technology (such as high throughput automation, statistical software, and new types of instrumentation).
  5. To educate and train forensic pathologists.
  6. To fund medicolegal death investigation systems to facilitate the accreditation of medical examiner and coroner offices and the certification of medicolegal death investigators.

Funding from this program supports forensic scientist certification training requirements, forensic science service provider facilities accreditation, acquisition of current technology by smaller jurisdictions, and modernization and maintainence of laboratories with regards to needed analytical equipment and instrumentation. Moreover, this program provides resources needed to battle the escalating opioid and synthetic drug epidemic to laboratories and medical examiners/coroners.
Pass-through Funding
Requests for forensic services are handled by six Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) regional crime laboratories, and five county laboratories (Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Pinellas, and Indian River) that are part of Florida's crime laboratory system. Florida's Division of Investigative and Forensic Services handles arson investigations and death investigations are handled by one of 25 district medical examiners who are governed by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission (MEC). FDLE serves as staff for the MEC.

Coverdell funding is distributed by FDLE on behalf of all agency members of Florida's crime laboratory system, Division of Investigative and Forensic Services and MEC utilizing a distribution methodology that provides a base amount of funding to Florida's Medical Examiners, with the remaining funds being distributed to the state and local crime laboratories on the basis of population served.

The State of Florida's goals are to:
  1. Reduce analysis time for cases submitted to state and county crime laboratories;
  2. Reduce backlogs in the analysis of forensic science evidence;
  3. Improve timeliness of medical examiner services throughout Florida; and
  4. Train forensic laboratory and medical examiner personnel to improve quality and timeliness of services and eliminate case backlogs.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Priorities

FDLE is composed of five areas: Executive Direction and Business Support, Criminal Investigations and Forensic Science, Criminal Justice Information, Criminal Justice Professionalism and Florida Capitol Police. FDLE’s duties, responsibilities and procedures are mandated through Chapter 943, FS, and Chapter 11, FAC. To learn more about these areas, read our Statement of Agency Organization and Operation or visit our Open Government page.