ROMNEY ANNOUNCES DOUBLING OF SPACE FOR STATE CRIME LAB
New facility is next step in long-term goal of cutting case backlog
Governor Mitt Romney today cut the ribbon on 12,000 square feet of new office and examination space for the State Crime Lab, which conducts forensic analysis for district attorneys and state and municipal law enforcement.
Today's opening, the first phase of a major forensic services expansion, doubles the amount of available space to the crime lab, which operates as a division of the State Police.
"The reality of forensic analysis may not be as flashy as it is on television, but there is no question it is becoming more and more important to crime solving," said Romney. "Investing in a state of the art facility is essential to our efforts to fight crime in Massachusetts."
The capacity of the State Crime Lab has long been inadequate, but that is changing. When Governor Romney took office in 2003, the crime lab had just four DNA chemists and a budget of only $3.9 million. Today, the budget is $12.6 million, which will pay for the expanded facility and a total of 34 DNA chemists.
The leased space opened today will significantly enhance the ability of crime lab staff to perform quality scientific analysis in a timely fashion, and the Governor said he plans to work with the Legislature to make additional improvements.
"Forensic analysis has become critical to our criminal justice system and I am pleased to see that Massachusetts continues to strive to have one of the most advanced crime labs in the nation," said State Representative James E. Vallee (D-Franklin). "The increased funding in this year's budget is an example of how committed the Legislature and the Governor are to the public safety of the residents of Massachusetts."
Romney recently filed a bond bill that provides $125 million for the final-phase improvements to the crime lab. When this phase of expansion is completed in 2012, the crime lab will have an estimated 230,000 square feet, including almost 40,000 square feet for DNA-related analysis alone. This amount would increase by about 20 times the amount of lab space originally available to DNA chemists.
"More crime lab space means faster results for criminal investigations across the Commonwealth," said Public Safety Secretary Edward A. Flynn. "Today marks yet another critical step towards our goal of world-class forensic services."
"The implementation of this new space and the newly graduated DNA chemists will greatly enhance our efforts to provide the most efficient, quality forensic services to the district attorneys, local law enforcement agencies and to the citizens of the Commonwealth," said Colonel Thomas G. Robbins, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police.
Services provided by the crime lab include controlled substance testing, bomb and arson investigations, toxicology, breath alcohol testing, criminalistics, trace evidence analysis and DNA casework. In addition to these "science-based" forensic laboratory services, the crime lab provides ballistics identification and crime scene services.