Valdosta Daily Times

Breaking News:

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.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 140417-Rail_Plan-001.jpg State Transportation seeks public input on rail plan

    The Georgia Department of Transportation held public meetings across the state this week to discuss its 2014 Georgia State Rail Plan.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417-valdosta_appr#10C8BA.jpg Officials serve lunch to city employees

    The City of Valdosta hosted its annual employee appreciation luncheon Thursday at John W. Saunders Memorial Park.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417-Wiregrass003.jpg Wiregrass learns through play

    For three years, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College has hosted its Wired Up! event to engage students, faculty and staff in a fun but educational activity day.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • rain.jpg More spills? Valdosta braces for more rain

    In the past four weeks, Valdosta has experienced four major rain events that dumped more than three to four inches of rain on the area per incident.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140117-Scott_SGMAC-001.jpg Moody in running for Afghan pilot mission

    Moody Air Force Base is one of three military bases being considered for a temporary mission to train Afghan pilots next year, Rep. Austin Scott told the South Georgia Military Affairs Council Thursday.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • City: Most overflows stopped

    The City of Valdosta reported Wednesday evening that all manhole overflows resulting from Tuesday’s heavy rains had stopped, with the exception of two.

    April 17, 2014

  • 140416-gov_deal002.jpg Signed into law

    Gov. Nathan Deal went on a signing tour Wednesday across Georgia, flying into the Valdosta Regional Airport to sign three bills into law.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 2 charged in N.C. kidnapping

    Two more people were charged in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor’s father, bringing the number to at least eight people who authorities say were involved in the elaborate plot.

    April 17, 2014

  • VSU opens spring senior art show Saturday

    Several graduating art seniors will present their show this weekend at Valdosta State University.

    April 17, 2014

  • 140415-water003.jpg Sewage problems persist

    Early Tuesday morning, Valdosta became saturated when the area received approximately three inches of rain from 4 a.m. to noon. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, 11 manholes throughout the City of Valdosta have spilled 286,500 gallons of wastewater into local waterways, and this number will continue to rise.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

Top News
Poll

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results