Charleston Police plan to build new forensics lab

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston Police Department is planning to build a new forensics lab.

The lab will be constructed on Bees Ferry Road in West Ashley and will focus testing in one location as opposed to four different locations that currently conduct forensic examinations, police say.

Forensics labs test evidence taken from crime scenes to solve crimes.

"In a city as large as Charleston, as many things as are going on, this is a lab that will make us better," Police Chief Luther Reynolds said Monday. "Forensics is a kind of force multiplier to help us clear cases, successfully, locate suspects, gather information which helps us keep our community safer."

The police department's director of forensic services says right now they are limited in what types of evidence they can test.

Some testing has to be done by the State Law Enforcement Division in Columbia.

Judy Gordon says the new lab will have new technology.

"We're gonna add a DNA lab eventually and be able to do ballistics testing and right now we don't have the facilities to accommodate that," Gordon said.

The price tag for the new 22,000 square foot lab is about $12.4 million, according to City of Charleston spokesman Jack O'Toole.

Chief Reynolds says it's a good investment.

"It will help with the backlog of cases but more importantly it'll help us better investigate crimes and close cases," Reynolds said.

The city's Design Review Board will consider conceptual approval of the building's design on May 7.

O'Toole says the city will need preliminary and final approvals down the road.

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