L.A. Gets Nation’s Largest Crime Lab
Los Angeles city and county officials have scheduled a May 11 official opening for the area’s newest crime lab, the $102 million Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center at California State University, Los Angeles.
The new, five-story facility will merge the existing LAPD and sheriff’s labs and will help reduce the backlog of DNA samples and other evidence. The 209,080-square-foot forensic center will also accommodate classrooms from the university’s School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics and the California Forensic Science Institute.
The lab will provide evidence testing for all law enforcement agencies in the county via such means as DNA analysis and crime scene reenactments using computer programs. Scanning electron microscopes will help assess trace evidence, including gunshot residue and fire-scene substances.
In addition, chemical processes and laser analysis will allow personnel to develop fingerprints on surfaces such as plastic bags, paper, and other surfaces that are usually incompatible with conventional powders.
The new center will also have sufficient space for upwards of 70 DNA analysts, up from the existing 30 at the sheriff’s lab, and will be able to accommodate 400 staff members. Evidence from approximately 140,000 criminal cases is estimated to be submitted yearly for assessment.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Daily News of Los Angeles (04/19/07); P. N4; Anderson, Troy.