New Forensic Lab is Required to Support Sufficient Staff and Equipment to Reduce Crime
Note: Forensic Scientists and other forensic lab employees in Southern Nevada are "civilians". They are not Police Officers.
Law Enforcement Officers are the backbone of public safety in our communities. Significant, appropriate levels of manpower are required so that first responders/investigators can proactively and safely enforce our laws, respond to calls for service, render assistance, detain subjects, investigate crimes, recover potential evidence, arrest suspects, and exonerate the wrongfully accused.
When there is sufficient available evidence—whether it is documentary, testimonial, or physical—to solve a crime and send the case to a prosecutor; the services of a forensic laboratory may not be needed.
However, when additional evidence is required, many portions of an investigation slow.... often stop completely. Examples where laboratory analysis is required includes processing evidence and comparing fingerprints to identify a potential and often unknown suspect; analysis of a substance to determine whether it is an illegal/illicit drug; lab analysis to determine the amount of alcohol a person may have in their blood; and toxicology lab analysis to determine if a drug is in a person's blood and if so, what type and what quantity. DNA tests may confirm the identity of a particular victim or suspect, and are frequently used to develop investigative leads when no suspect information exists, or when possible subject information must be confirmed through science. This is quite often the case. DNA can connect numerous separate crimes, as will fingerprints and laboratory analysis of firearms evidence.
Solving crimes through the scientific analysis of physical evidence often means that criminals are identified and subsequently apprehended. Crimes solved are regularly the key to preventing additional crime, and lives are often saved as a result.
Multiple law enforcement agencies submit evidence to the two publicly operated forensic laboratories in Southern Nevada. Law enforcement agencies may add officers, spend more time investigating a particular case, conduct additional DUI enforcement, complete more drug buys, conduct additional interviews of subjects, and observe criminals in the act. In a large percentage of crimes however, the lack of civilian manpower in the forensic laboratory and related backlogs are the direct causes of slowing or stopping all progress in the efforts to solve a particular crime.