Wed October 3, 2012

Northern Colorado Crime Lab One Step Closer to Reality

Northern Colorado officials broke ground today on a $4 million regional crime lab that will examine forensic evidence for the region. The aim is to expedite the time it takes to process samples—and create efficiencies.

Representatives from Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins—and well as Weld and Larimer counties—were on hand at the ceremony. The site of the lab will be near the intersection of Highway 34 and 257 in West Greeley.

Sean Conway, commissioner for Weld County, kicked off the ceremony by explaining that the building was “many years in the making.”

“I really want to commend my fellow commissioners and mayors and city councils who came together and recognized that we had a problem,” he said. “The time it was taking to process crime evidence at CBI in Denver was taking way too long.”

Since that time  labs that examine evidence relating to things like digital media, print analysis and firearms have popped up, but they are currently spread across Northern Colorado. Once the building is completed, the labs will be brought under one roof, along with a sample processing lab run by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

“You need to have people together in one building, so you can control security, protect the evidence, the integrity of the evidence which is absolutely critical,” said Ron Arndt with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said that the project has sparked collaboration in Northern Colorado—something he hopes will continue long after the building is complete.

“What we found is by Weld County working on a Loveland case and Larimer country working on a Fort Collins case, the backlog shrunk to less than 30 days whereas before it was six months,” he said. “That applies not to fingerprints but digital evidence.”

Right now Northern Colorado is the largest region in the state without an area crime lab. It’s expected to take one year to complete the 20,000 thousand square foot facility.

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