New state crime lab to speed up evidence testing

Posted at 7:10 PM, Aug 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-10 10:10:53-04

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah - When it's done next spring, it will be one of the best crime labs in the country.

"Oh yeah, this is top of the line," said Jay Henry, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety Crime Lab.

The lab, which is roughly nine-thousand square feet, will cost around $41 million in taxpayer money.  The facility will employ about 45 lab specialists working in a number of different specialties.

"We'll have DNA testing, trace evidence labs, and chemistry labs," Henry boasts about a number of the specialized areas.

The lab will also feature a firing range where investigators can recreate a crime scene to determine bullet trajectory, and a water tank they can shoot into to see if bullets fired from a gun match the bullets recovered at the scene.

"We have to fire the bullet, but we have to capture it intact," Henry points out.  "That's what the water tank does, it's rated for a 50 caliber."

The lab comes with two bays for vehicle processing as well. It's a feature badly needed when compared to what the current facility has.

"The one we got now is small," Henry said.  "It can hold a Toyota Camry. That's about it."

In the past, when larger cars came in, he says they would have to send the cars elsewhere.  Additionally, if they needed to fire bullets into the watering tank, he said that needed to be done in Ogden.

The best part about this new crime lab is it can house everything in one location, cutting down on the time it takes to process evidence.

"Oh easily," Henry confirms. "Twice as fast with DNA processing.  Hopefully, we won't be back logged on things now as we move forward."