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Government

Sedgwick Co. Commission Approves Grants For Health Dept., Forensic Science Center

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Nadya Faulx
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KMUW/File photo
Sedgwick County Commissioners David Dennis, Dave Unruh and Michael O'Donnell.

Sedgwick County commissioners signed off on two grants on Wednesday for programs at the County Health Department and the Regional Forensic Science Center.

The commissioners voted 5-0 to accept a $1.9 million grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Health Department Director Adrienne Byrne told commissioners the grant is a longstanding funding source for various health department programs.

"Without this funding, many of our programs would be drastically reduced or services not be able to be provided," Byrne said.

The grant provides funding for programs such as the public health emergency preparedness, family planning, sexually transmitted disease prevention, HIV testing, a children’s dental clinic, Healthy Babies and immunizations.

Byrne said the grant award is about $22,000 higher than what the county received in 2016.

“It allows us to continue to work towards improving the health status of our residents by assuring that our children are immunized and that our most vulnerable women receive well-woman check-ups and education about how to stay healthy in-between and during pregnancies,” she said.

The Regional Forensic Science Center will receive a $25,000 federal grant from the Paul Coverdell National Forensic Science Improvement Act to replace analytical equipment and add new technology.

The Center’s director, Tim Rohrig, said that will help improve the timeliness of forensic laboratory results and reduce the case backlog.

The Regional Forensic Science Center serves at the crime lab and Medical Examiner’s Office for all of Sedgwick County, Kansas Law Enforcement agencies and provides forensic services to many of the surrounding counties.

Rohrig said there’s been an increase in caseload and demand for forensic analyses in recent years without an increase in funding or staffing.

“The increasing backlog and turn-around time on casework is detrimental to their criminal justice partners, and ultimately to the citizens of Sedgwick County,” he said in a written statement presented to the commissioners.

The center is currently staffed with 37 scientists, medical examiner staff and technicians.

The commissioners also scheduled a post-annexation hearing for April 19 for property owners and the City of Derby.

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Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

 
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