Editorial: Fight against crime gets boost

The never ending fight against crime in

Louisiana got a boost recently when Gov. Bobby Jindal and Louisiana

State Police Superintendent

Col. Mike Edmonson announced that the State Police Crime Lab has

eliminated all case backlogs throughout its sections, including

narcotics, latent prints, toxicology and firearms.

All disciplines of the Louisiana State

Police Crime Lab are now providing real-time forensic support to law

enforcement partners

in communities across the state, allowing experts to focus on

solving crimes as they happen. The turnaround time on cases

has been reduced from a high of 1,000 days to less than 15 days

today. This includes evidence intake, analysis, quality control

review and report writing.

Jindal said that the backlog elimination is because of aggressive efforts by the Louisiana State Police and increased state

funding for equipment and technology, as well as the Crime Lab expansion supported by the state in 2009.

“Having a crime lab that operates in real time will also help us assist local law enforcement faster and focus on advanced

training for law enforcement personnel so we can continue fighting crime in our communities. The work completed by our law

enforcement personnel directly contributes to a safer Louisiana – and we are forever grateful for their service to protect

our people,” he said.

Since 2008, the Crime Lab has

eliminated a backlog of more than 9,300 cases. These include more than

2,860 narcotics cases,

1,000 latent print cases, more than 800 firearms cases and more

than 3,700 toxicology cases. Officials with Louisiana State

Police report there is no other crime lab in the U.S. with

processing capacity like that of the LSP Crime Lab.

Baton Rouge Police Department Police

Chief Carl Dabadie said, “The partnership forged between the Baton Rouge

Police Department

and the State Police Crime Lab is most evident within the East

Baton Rouge Violent Crimes Unit. Our detectives are seeing

unprecedented turnaround times on the analysis of critical pieces

of evidence. This ensures that our detectives have the information

needed to move investigations forward and bring to justice the

perpetrators of crime in the City of Baton Rouge. This partnership

is a win for our respective agencies but most importantly it is a

win for our citizens.”

Before the backlog was reduced, the

Crime Lab was unable to process all of its own cases and had to

outsource evidence to

other labs. Now, all of the evidence can be analyzed in-house. The

backlog also reduced LSP’s ability to provide advanced

training to examiners or instruction to other agencies. These

issues were quickly identified as a priority by Jindal and the

Louisiana State Police, and resources to reduce the backlog were

set in place through the DNA Forensic Section’s efficiency

project, additional state support and several other measures

tackled by law enforcement officers and forensic experts throughout

the Crime Lab’s sections.

The State Police Crime Lab works to assist local law enforcement in investigations across the state.

The crime lab also helps the New

Orleans Police Department process 480 cases a year across its various

sections. The State

Police Crime Lab began assisting the NOPD in 2010 with DNA

analysis of violent crime, specifically for homicides and sexual

assaults.

Making Louisiana safer place to live by giving law enforcement better tools to fight crime is a plus for everyone, except

the criminals.

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This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.