POOLER, Ga. (WTOC) - The Georgia Bureau of Investigation celebrated the opening of a new crime lab with a ribbon cutting Monday in Pooler.
They broke ground more than two years ago.
The existing lab in Savannah is more than 30 years old. The new lab in Pooler will have new equipment and will allow the GBI to double their staff size. It will also help streamline their processes and get evidence back to local agencies in the coastal region in a timely manner.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was in attendance along with many other state leaders and City of Pooler officials, like Mayor Mike Lamb.
“I know that this crime lab is designed to better serve, and I believe that it will. I believe it will make the agency more efficient," the governor said. "I know that it will provide easier access for the law enforcement community, certainly in Southeast Georgia.”
Gov. Kemp says the new 64,000 square foot facility is not only three times bigger than the old one, but GBI Director Vic Reynolds says the new facility will meet the growing demand of forensic services across the state.
“What this facility will do, it will allow them to bring those items that need to be tested to a brand new structure that has the most cutting edge scientific equipment; that has the ability to grow over the course of many years in this part of the state.”
For the City of Pooler, Mayor Mike Lamb says the new lab will help create jobs while providing families and victims with finding the truth in their cases.
“This is going to help our city, but also the entire area around here, so it’s a blessing for our city, but it’s a blessing for the entire area so that they can bring evidence to this particular location and get back to their cities quickly," Mayor Lamb said.
Georgia State Patrol Colonel Mark McDonough says the access on top of the line tools will make their jobs that much easier and more efficient.
“This is a great day for law enforcement,” he said. “It gives us access to crime lab specialists who can do those tests, can testify to the results of them. It’s that underpinning that administrative aspect, that technical aspect of law enforcement that CSI has made famous.”
“I think one of the major reasons that we’ve built this crime lab is the ability to grow. We’re moving from a structure that houses 26 employees to one that has the ability to house 70, so not only today, but in the future as we look ahead, we have the ability to grow here in this building without worrying about being on top of each other. We have double the storage space," Reynolds said.
For now, the GBI will use existing staff to work at the lab. They will start receiving evidence from law enforcement agencies and using the lab sometime at the end of the month.