Good Police Work the State Should Fund the County Crime Lab

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), August 14, 2014 | Go to article overview

Good Police Work the State Should Fund the County Crime Lab


Absent funding from the state, the Allegheny County Crime Lab could be driven to close its doors as early as next year. The lab is tasked with conducting a wide range of tests, such as DNA and toxicology, on criminal evidence from more than a hundred agencies including the Pittsburgh police department, county police, municipal police, state police and federal law enforcement.

Yet the facility has operated without state money since the 2011- 12 fiscal year, relying instead on funds from the county budget.

Requiring Allegheny County taxpayers to pay for the processing of evidence is inequitable. These local residents support both the county crime lab and the seven state police crime labs with their taxes - in other words, they are paying twice. The Allegheny County Crime Lab handles cases that otherwise would need to be performed by the state police labs, relieving some burden from the state.

Last week, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto reported an "uptick" in the city's homicide rate, which police say is due to a rise in drug- related violence. The city is very close to matching last year's murder total of 46, yet it is only August. …

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