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Lockyer, Local Officials Celebrate Construction of New Ripon Crime Lab
(Ripon, CA) – Joined by local elected officials and representatives from local law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, Attorney General Bill Lockyer participated in a ceremony in Ripon to celebrate the construction of the new California Department of Justice (DOJ) Central Valley forensic laboratory that will serve law enforcement agencies in Calaveras, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne counties.
When completed early next year, the $10.6 million, 32,000 square foot facility will house up to 32 staff and continue to offer service in the areas of controlled substance analysis, blood alcohol analysis, serological analysis, trace evidence analysis, firearms and toolmark examinations, and serial number restoration for the five counties, and clandestine laboratory analysis for the five counties plus two additional counties: Contra Costa and Alameda. By the end of 2001, the Central Valley Lab will also offer DNA analysis for cases.
"In California, 46 of the state's 58 counties rely on the DOJ regional crime lab network for forensic services. This new lab in Ripon will provide state of the art services to ensure that criminals are identified, captured and convicted," said Lockyer. "We are also working to replace a number of other labs within the next few years including those in Fresno, Santa Barbara, Santa Rosa, and Redding, and two months ago, we broke ground for a new lab in Riverside. These new crime labs will also have the staffing and latest technology available to help local law enforcement investigate and solve crimes."
For more than 25 years, the Central Valley Laboratory has been serving the forensic needs of the five counties from a number of different locations including the current temporary trailers in Ripon and in French Camp. "The French Camp lab has been operating in a ‘temporary' trailer for more than 15 years, with eight staff working in space more appropriate for two or three," said Lockyer. "It's about time we move into a facility that meets today's standards."
Each month, the Central Valley labs processes evidence for an average of 450 drug cases, 350 blood alcohol cases, 30 illegal (usually methamphetamine) drug labs, and approximately 30 violent crimes, in addition to officer involved shootings. Overall, the lab processes evidence for more than 10,000 cases per year. Actual construction of the Ripon crime lab began earlier this year.