Attorney General Bill Lockyer Hosts Ceremony to Kick-off Construction of New Fresno Crime Lab
(FRESNO) - Attorney General Bill Lockyer today hosted a special ceremony on the campus of Fresno State University to kick-off the construction of a new California Department of Justice (DOJ) forensic laboratory that will serve law enforcement agencies in Fresno, Inyo, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Mono and Tulare counties. Lockyer was joined at today's event by numerous representatives from local law enforcement agencies and the university.
"The need to replace many of our state crime labs has been apparent for years," Lockyer said. "Central Valley residents and law enforcement deserve the best. Once it's built, this new laboratory will have the staffing and latest technology necessary to help local law enforcement throughout the Central Valley investigate and solve crimes faster and better than ever before. I am excited that it will also be a teaching laboratory that will train future generations of criminal forensic scientists."
The DOJ's new 36,000-square-foot facility will replace two existing smaller offices and employ 38 scientists and staff when it is completed. The lab will provide important criminal forensic services, including: DNA evidence analysis, analysis of controlled substances, blood alcohol tests, latent print analysis, serology, ballistics, as well as firearms and tool-mark examinations. The increase in space will also allow the lab to house a new teaching laboratory in which both staff and Fresno State University students will learn about and use the latest innovations in forensics technology.
For more than 30 years, the Fresno Lab has been serving the forensic needs of the Central Valley. The lab began operating out of a Fresno State women's dormitory in 1972, with a staff of 5. Over the years, the staff has grown to its current level of 30, making the current facility too small. The new Fresno Crime Lab will now be able to house a larger evidence inspection area, allowing large items of evidence, such as cars and motorhomes, to be processed in a controlled and secure environment.
In California, 46 of the state's 58 counties rely on the DOJ's 10 regional crime labs for forensic services. Attorney General Lockyer has also recently announced the opening of a crime lab in Riverside and the new state DNA Lab in Richmond. In May, Lockyer will celebrate the opening of a crime lab in Ripon.