This month, when the joint Valdosta-Lowndes County Crime Lab is expected to fully open for operation, South Georgia will be the envy of law-enforcement in cities and counties across the nation.

No other city-county of similar size to Valdosta-Lowndes County likely has a facility like our new crime lab, said Valdosta Police Chief Frank Simons. With exception of major metropolises, few larger cities and counties have anything that compares.

With the new crime lab, the Valdosta Police Department and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office can process fingerprints, analyze trace evidence, test drugs, handle firearms ballistics, and perform numerous other processes.

While the new crime lab is a gem in Valdosta-Lowndes County prestige, it should also help area law-enforcement more efficiently and effectively solve area crimes.

Given the yo-yo conditions of the state crime labs closing and opening, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Crime Lab will allow Valdosta police and Lowndes County sheriff’s investigators the opportunity to have tests conducted in-house by priority rather than having to wait weeks to months for state results. Granted, blood, DNA evidence and autopsies will still be handled by the state crime labs, but the city-county will be able to more expediently handle numerous other CSI-type tests.

This ability will not only help Valdosta-Lowndes County solve its crimes, but crimes happening in regions throughout South Georgia and the state. The lab will be available to assist other law-enforcement agencies.

The crime lab is a sterling example of the progress that can be made when agencies work together. Through unrelated circumstances, the Valdosta Police Department and Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office each had an impressive array of crime-solving equipment at their individual disposal.

A few years ago, The Valdosta Daily Times pressed the concept of the city and county pooling these resources. Valdosta police and Lowndes County sheriff’s officials began discussing the concept.

It has taken a few years, but the crime lab is here. And Valdosta-Lowndes County should be a better place for it.

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