The new 47,000+ sq. ft. Forensic Science Center will include the second full-service forensic laboratory in southern Nevada, a facility to house a crime scene investigation/evidence analysis (CSI) section, and an education/training component in cooperation with a local college/university.
The education/training laboratory will serve multiple purposes including increased emergency lab capacity in the event of critical Homeland Security events, short-term lab capacity needs of other agencies in Nevada, and many other situations.
Crime rates in Nevada are some of the worst in the nation. Nevada ranks #1 (worst) in Robbery, #2 in Violent Crime, #3 Vehicle Theft, #4 Aggravated Assault, #6 Murder, #8 Burglary, #12 Rape (FBI 2014 stats). Forensic labs are a major key to reducing those rates.
Not enough is changing within local government agencies to significantly decrease these numbers. There simply aren't public (tax-payer) funds available to build a new laboratory, and Homeland Security issues add to our crime solving and prevention needs. That’s why a small group of concerned and informed citizens formed the NevadaCSI. Now we are asking for your help. We're asking for your donations to help fund the construction of a new forensic lab in Southern Nevada.
If we receive enough funds, we also hope to pay for additional forensic instrumentation/equipment in a new DNA lab and to cover salaries for three forensic scientists and one DNA Lab Manager for the first three years of operation. The additional cost is approximately 2.8 million dollars.
This is a unique Public-Private Partnership that will Solve Crimes, Prevent Crime, and Save Lives in our Communities.
The second full-service forensic laboratory is needed immediately in order to replace the small Henderson lab and supplement needs in southern Nevada. Sufficient public/taxpayer funds aren't available, and we need the funding to fill this critical need that has been known to exist for well over a decade.
Our communities’ forensic needs require a huge boost to provided continual safety and security, and to fully support of our criminal justice system. The forensic laboratory shortage in southern Nevada is a critical deficiency that must be corrected in order to:
Public-Private Partnerships (PPP or P3 for short) come in many forms. This P3 is different than many because the return on investment is completely different from many other partnerships. Contributors to this P3 will directly help solve crime, prevent crime, and save lives.
This particular P3 exists because the capital costs of building a critically needed Forensic Science Center is beyond the capability of local government organizations and taxpayers should not be asked to bear the entire costs. The current plan for this project is provide funds from private sector contributions to pay for the construction of the facility; and an obligation for the subsequent owning/operating public agency to provide contributions in kind (such as the land) and to provide agreed services for the long-term operation, maintenance, equipping and staffing of the facility.
This Forensic Science Center/Forensic Laboratory project is among a small group of unique P3s in the U.S. where Forensic laboratories have been partially or wholly funded through such partnerships. Ours will be the first such project known in Nevada. When completed, the private contribution will arguably be one of the largest of its kind in the U.S.
NevadaCSI provided $170,000 (from private contributions) to the City of Henderson to determine the actual needs, potential costs, and feasibility of the project. The funds paid for two related contracts:
Project funds are currently managed by the Henderson Community Foundation (HCF), a recognized 501(c)3 corporation in the State of Nevada. Federal Tax ID #45-0489163. Any contribution made to NevadaCSI via the HCF is tax deductible to the extent allowed by the IRS.
Important note: All employees of the two publicly operated forensic laboratories in southern Nevada are non-sworn "civilians". They are not police officers. Adding forensic evidence analysis capacity and capability effectively adds sworn police officers to the agencies due to the crime solving and prevention that result from scientific analysis of evidence from crime scenes.
All forensic testing laboratories (crime labs) must receive and maintain ISO/IEC 17025 Forensic Testing Laboratory accreditation, or equivalent, as directed by National Commission on Forensic Science and the U.S. Attorney General (AG). In November 2015, the U.S. Attorney General gave notice to all federal agencies requiring all forensic laboratories to be ISO accredited by 2020, and to maintain accreditation. Those requirements have been passed down to state and local agencies in regard to evidence analysis for crimes charged or prosecuted in federal courts.
Current expectations are for the new Forensic Science Center (forensic laboratory, cooperative educational component, and crime scene (CSI) section) to be located in Henderson, Nevada. It would replace the current 4,500 sq. ft. laboratory now operated by the City of Henderson. The grant recipient(s) must maintain, operate, equip, and fully staff the new facility.
The laboratory will include the first joint forensic laboratory/undergraduate training experience of its kind in Nevada.
It is the opinion of NevadaCSI leadership that publicly-operated forensic laboratories have a moral and ethical obligation to share knowledge, experience, and opportunities with the public that we serve. Educational partnerships with one or more institutions of higher education will provide unique opportunities for future forensic science practitioners, increase their exposure to the use of natural (physical and life) sciences in forensic applications, to help guide students and graduates to potential careers in areas that will help others, increase opportunities for future employment, and encourage Nevada’s students to remain and work in our state.
Nevada State College expressed an interest in partnering with the City to explore the possibility of incorporating an educational component into the Center. Nevada State College, under the authority of the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education, is developing a 509 acre campus adjacent to City property. Co-locating the Center on or near the campus presents a myriad of opportunities for the project, including the creation of a skilled workforce pipeline and the prospect of future growth.
Our future leaders will have additional opportunities for careers that will help solve crime, prevent crime, and save lives; careers that can help take criminals off of the streets and that can help exonerate innocent persons charged with crimes; careers that will also help their family members, friends, neighbors, businesses, and other members of their local communities to avoid being victims of crime.
After the Forensic Science Center construction is complete and the facility becomes operational, increased opportunities for research in forensic science and its practical application will arise. Those opportunities will help the laboratory staff and its educational partners to learn and grow, and doors will be opened for research and development grants. These opportunities will benefit communities throughout southern Nevada and beyond. The development of the Forensic Science Center and related educational partnerships will help put southern Nevada “on the map” as a leader in the practical application of forensic science in the western United States.
Educational Partnerships are included in many forensic laboratories throughout the U.S., and several publicly-operated forensic labs and Forensic Science Institutes are located on college/university campuses. Some examples include: Bowling Green State University, Forensic Science Institute of Ohio and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation Crime Lab; Washburn University, Kansas Bureau of Investigation Forensic Science Center; California State University at Los Angeles: Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center and California Forensic Science Institute; Marshall University Forensic Science Center, Huntington, West Virginia; University of Chicago Crime Lab, Illinois; University of Chicago Crime Lab New York; University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory; Claflin University, City of Orangeburg Forensic Lab, South Carolina; and the University of Baltimore, Baltimore PD reserve crime lab.