AZ Forensic Labs Expanding; Crime Is Down, Their Work Is Up


Phoenix-area crime labs are growing to keep pace with the ever-increasing demand for forensic evidence, reports the Arizona Republic. Mesa opens a state-of-the art lab next month, Chandler is planning a new one, Phoenix opened a new lab last year, Scottsdale plans to open a new lab next year. “Success breeds more work,” said Todd Griffith of the state Department of Public Safety. “There’s more we can do with the evidence.” Eleven new technicians have finished training at the state lab and will help cut into a backlog of DNA cases.

Steve Garrett, Scottsdale’s forensic-services manager, said detectives used to be selective by requesting analysis for only major violent crimes such as homicides and sexual assaults. Now, forensic work is performed on routine crimes that affect more people, such as burglaries and auto thefts. “Even though crime goes down, our work goes up,” Garrett said. “They’re giving us more evidence.” Mesa residents will get a rare glimpse at the workings of their new crime lab at a grand opening Oct. 23. The lab plans to assemble a crime scene complete with guns and bullet casings outside the building then show residents how they would analyze evidence. “That’s what forensics does,” Mesa Commander Bill Peters said. “It allows you to re-enact the crime.”


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