Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

April 23, 2013

Solving cases just got faster

Crime lab receives drug certification

VALDOSTA — With the ability to ionize and analyze the chemical composition of gaseous clouds, the Valdosta-Lowndes Regional Crime Lab will be able to work area cases faster and more efficiently while taking another step closer to ensuring the facility will someday match all of the capabilities of a Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab.

On Monday, the crime lab’s forensic drug chemists received accreditation, which allow area law-enforcement agencies a quicker response to processing drug evidence.

Instead of shipping evidence to GBI facilities around the state and falling in line with hundreds of other law-enforcement agencies, Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Joe Crow said the lab’s gas chromotography machines will facilitate shorter wait times for court cases pending drug analysis.

“A lot of the times, the backlogs from the state labs hold up court cases,” said Crow. “But now, things will get into the court system a lot faster and that will certainly be an asset. You’re going to have local chemists in a local lab that will be subpoenaed to local court cases. Getting them to court and schedule those court cases will be much easier than say trying to schedule a chemist from a state lab that works with 150 counties that may contain several law-enforcement agencies of their own.”

From ballistics and fingerprinting to trace evidence and chemistry, Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress said he expects the lab to process all evidence within 21 days as opposed to the one to six months it may take to receive a report from a GBI crime lab.

The lab’s Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometers had been in place for months, ready to convert solids into gases and to charge the gas clouds so that their components separate based on their chemical volatility, Childress said. The police chief said he and other VLRCL officials had to recruit qualified operators, a search that he and Crow agreed took anywhere from six months to a year.

“We had to go out and find folks that had the educational background required to operate this equipment,” said Childress. “As of last week, we have three chemists at the lab and they are excellent folk. Two are from the city and one is from the sheriff’s office. They already had a lot of background when they came on board to their respective agencies here and all three had worked out of the VLRCL.”

Theoretically, the lab’s ability to analyze drugs is tantamount to the capability to perform toxicology reports. However, Childress said the lab’s next big step will be to achieve American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors recognition.

“Let me be clear — both the police department and sheriff’s office said from the get go that once we got into this crime lab business, we’d try to provide the same services as the state crime labs. The state labs are ASCLD accredited, so we’re perusing that, too. We hope to put in an application with those folks in March of next year.”

Crow agreed. The crime lab has been a work in progress since the police department and sheriff’s office agreed to operate the lab jointly roughly five years ago, but Crow said all parties have remained both optimistic and excited about its future.

“We’ve always felt proud of the lab and what it will accomplish,” said Crow. “As the crime lab grows and expands, it’ll become something that will transcend all of the individuals that are a  part of it.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Clay Griner.jpeg Griner wins Lowndes commission runoff

    A long nine-week runoff election between Clay Griner and G. Norman Bennett came to an end Tuesday night with Griner beating Bennett by 1,060 votes, with approximately 70 provisional ballots left to count.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140722-Runoff_Voting003.jpg State Senate District 8 too close to call

    The race for State Senate District 8 appeared too close to call as of The Times print deadline late Tuesday night.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Senate Georgia_Stew.jpg Perdue defeats Kingston in Georgia Senate runoff

    Businessman David Perdue has defeated longtime Rep. Jack Kingston in the Republican runoff for Georgia’s U.S. Senate nomination, setting up a matchup against Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn that will help determine which party controls the Senate for the final years of the Obama administration.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • County OKs $1.6 million for water-treatment equipment

    By a divided vote, the Lowndes County Commission approved spending $1,638,000 to purchase two pieces of equipment to improve the county’s water quality as per an agreement with the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

    July 23, 2014

  • Baytree Animal Hospital LB copy.JPG Animal hospital named Business of the Week

    Baytree Animal Hospital was named Leading Business of the Week by the  Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce for July 14.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gavel-courtroom.jpg Water treatment plant discussed

    The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners discussed purchasing two pieces of equipment for the Alapaha Water Treatment Plant and the Spring Creek System for a total of $1,638,000 during its Monday work session and is expected to vote on the issue tonight.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • education.jpg Charter school petition denied

    Both the Valdosta City and Lowndes County school boards unanimously denied the joint charter petition from Scintilla Charter Academy during their respective meetings Monday evening.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • echols_alapapa.jpg WWALS gets grant from river network

    The Willacoochee, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little River Systems Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) received a $500 Alapaha Water Trail Grant from the Georgia River Network

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140718-ARJim2.jpg Teacher at home anywhere in the world

    Variety is the spice of life. South Georgia is home to a diverse group of people, each with a unique life story. One man with glorious tales of travel and selfless volunteer work is Jim Kokoruda.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • fire2a.jpg Blaze damages North Lowndes home

    Lowndes County Fire Rescue responded to a fire call Sunday at 3756 Cross Creek Circle near Bemiss Road.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

Top News

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results