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Governor Attends GBI Crime Lab Open House in Cleveland

Tuesday, June 28, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


New Lab to Help Reduce Crime Lab Backlog

CLEVELAND, GA – Today Governor Sonny Perdue delivered the keynote address at an open house of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s (GBI) Northeast Regional Crime Laboratory and Region 8 Investigative Office in Cleveland, Georgia. The crime laboratory opened for business in November 2004 and cost $3.2 million to construct and equip. The Region 8 office, which replaced GBI’s Gainesville office, opened in February 2004 and cost approximately $820,000 to construct.

“GBI is one of Georgia’s most important crime-fighting resources,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “This is precisely why it is so important that we provide the GBI with the kind of advanced facilities we see here today,” he said.

The new crime lab includes state-of-the-art features and provides needed improvements for GBI’s presence in northeast Georgia. The lab is 14,440 square feet and employs seven employees, including scientists and support staff. The lab includes adequate space for analytical work, environmental controls for employee safety, a state-of-the-art security system, evidence-transfer equipment and an electrical control for sensitive instrumentation. The facility is compliant with the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors’ accreditation requirements. The Crime Lab provides forensic services for 18 counties, including Banks, Dawson, Fannin, Forsyth, Franklin, Gilmer, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Pickens, Union, Towns, Rabun, Stevens and White.

The Cleveland investigative office is 6,630 square feet, more than doubling the size of the former Gainesville facility. The office houses 12 employees, including special agents and support staff. The office has a crime scene garage for the processing of evidence and a state-of-the-art security system. The office is equipped with environmental controls for employee safety and has adequate space for current staff to grow over time. The office provides investigative support to the largest GBI region in the state. Special agents assigned to the office assist law enforcement in 14 counties: Cherokee, Dawson, Fannin, Forsyth, Gilmer, Habersham, Hall, Lumpkin, Pickens, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union and White.

For years Governor Perdue has been a strong advocate of reducing the backlog of the GBI crime lab. Governor Perdue’s most recent budget recommendations contained more than $4.4 million to reduce GBI’s backlog– $1,425,654 for 20 new analyst positions in the FY06 budget and $3 million in the FY05 amended budget for outsourcing existing casework to private labs. This is the Governor’s second consecutive budget from that has included additional funding for new staff positions at the crime lab. The FY05 budget included funding that resulted in the GBI hiring 17 new staff for the crime lab.

“As a result of the Governor's leadership and support in providing these additional resources, law enforcement officers and prosecutors across Georgia will see a dramatic reduction in the number of backlog cases in the crime lab over the next 12 months," said GBI Director Vernon Keenan.