October 17, 2016
Latest FBI Report of High Crime Rates in Nevada Proves the Need for More Forensic Laboratory Capacity in the State
Community volunteer group NevadaCSI seeking $30 million in private funds to build a new publicly operated lab in Southern Nevada, staffed by non-sworn (civilian) personnel
HENDERSON, NEV. — The FBI’s recently released Uniform Crime Report (UCR) showed that while the nation experienced a slight decline in some types of crime through 2015, Nevada reported some of the highest crime rates in the nation for the sixth consecutive year. In 2015 the state was ranked #1 for robbery, #2 in overall violent crime, #3 burglary, #4 aggravated assault, #4 vehicle theft, #7 rape, and #9 for murder/non-negligent (willful) manslaughter. Number 1 is the worst possible, 50 is the best.
Forensic Lab Shortage — Southern Nevada does not have enough forensic lab capacity to process all available evidence. As a result, crimes remain unsolved, criminals remain free, and additional people needlessly become victims. NevadaCSI is asking for help to fix that right now.
A New Forensic Lab Will:
- Provide a Critical Force Multiplier for Law Enforcement — When forensic labs help solve and prevent crimes, law enforcement can shift substantial resources to other areas, other crimes, and other criminals. A new fully equipped and staffed forensic lab will effectively add more officers to the street and to investigative duties. It is a cost-effective method to increase the numbers of “boots on the ground”, prevent crime, and save lives.
- Solve and Prevent Rape and Other Crimes with Additional DNA Analysis Capacity; Reduce DNA Backlogs to Fight Crime Against Women — The new lab will be the second in Southern Nevada to conduct DNA evidence analysis for rape and many other crimes.
- Provide Timely Analysis of Blood for Alcohol and Drugs in DUIs — Many drivers suspected of DUI/alcohol have high levels of prescription and illicit drugs in their blood. Henderson’s small lab can test for 77 drugs in blood, the highest number among the three publicly operated labs in Nevada. In two recent fatal crashes in Henderson—where alcohol and drugs were not suspected—drugs were identified in the two surviving drivers’ blood.
- Fight Drug Crimes — Prescription and illicit drug abuse is related to many other crimes. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department forensic lab has lengthy backlogs and the Henderson lab has limited capacity in the old, repurposed 4,500 square foot facility. The limitations in Southern Nevada’s drug analysis capacity hamper investigations, affect officer and community safety, and negatively impact the criminal justice system.
- Enhance Homeland Security — Local Crime Scene Investigators/Analysts (CSIs) and lab scientists (non-sworn/civilian employees) process crime scenes and conduct forensic evidence analysis for federal crimes such as bank robberies, bombings, etc. Federal agency labs cannot, and do not, handle the workload of the entire nation. Additional forensic lab capacity will provide much more timely scientific information to local and federal law enforcement investigators. It will increase their ability to solve and prevent homeland security-related incidents/crimes, and to share timely information with other states and with Federal law enforcement agencies.
- Create Jobs — Based on recent lab planning and design/architectural reviews, the new Forensic Science Center will provide space/support for a minimum of 38 additional scientific positions/jobs.
- Provide Educational Opportunities — A partnership with a local college/university will provide unique job opportunities for future forensic science practitioners. The spaces planned for the education component within the Center will also provide support for emergency short-term lab capacity increases and homeland security needs.
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The primary purposes of the all-volunteer NevadaCSI organization are to (a) raise private funds to build, equip and support a publicly operated forensic science center in Southern Nevada; and; (b) promote the use of forensic science to increase community safety and security.
Note: Chairman Rick Workman's volunteer duties with NevadaCSI are separate and distinct from any government agency. Statements made by him, on his behalf, and/or from other representatives of NevadaCSI do not reflect nor purport to represent the City of Henderson, Henderson Police Department, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Clark County, the State of Nevada, the FBI, nor any other government organization unless otherwise stated. All solicitations for private funds are also separate and distinct from—and are not made on behalf of—those agencies.