Law enforcement agencies form new crime lab - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Law enforcement agencies form new crime lab

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June 1, 2005

Valdosta - Lt. Keith Anderson processes most all crime scene evidence at the Valdosta Police Department. "I do fingerprinting, video tape enhancement, ballistics, drug analysis," said Anderson.

And he does in all inside a small, cramped room. "We're very crowded, we share this room with property evidence and the lab all together in one room," said Anderson.

But not for long. The V.P.D. is joining forces with the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office to form a new, high-tech crime lab of their own. "We'll be sharing some of the county's equipment that we don't have and vice versa, so working together, we'll be able to solve a lot more crimes," said Anderson.

The new crime lab will be located at the old McCranie building on Ashley Street. It's the same size as the entire police department, but all of this space will be used strictly for crime investigation. "Our goal is to eventually do everything but DNA at our crime lab here," said Anderson.

Now both agencies rely on G.B.I. crime labs for the bulk of their crime scene analysis, but because of state budget cuts and the backlog of cases, it can take a long time to process all the evidence. "Its not unheard of to wait three to six months, maybe even longer for some evidence processing," said Captain Brian Childress.

Investigators eventually want to open up the crime lab to help other law enforcement agencies around South Georgia and North Florida. "We're also looking at the possibility of having an area inside the crime lab where we can bring in deceased bodies which is a little different than what we're doing now," said Childress.

So they can solve crimes faster, and put criminals where they belong.

Investigators hope to start working out of the new crime lab by the fall of 2006.

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