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Officials break ground for new crime lab at BGSU

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BOWLING GREEN, OH (Toledo News Now) -

On Wednesday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Bowling Green State University President Mary Ellen Mazey joined community leaders and local law enforcement for the groundbreaking of the new Bureau of Criminal Investigation lab on BGSU's campus.

"This new facility will enhance the laboratory and investigative services we provide to our law enforcement partners in northwest Ohio," said DeWine. "We'll also be able to work with BGSU to advance forensic science in Ohio and help prepare our state's next generation of scientists and investigators."

The new BCI facility will elevate BGSU to the select group of colleges nationwide that have on-campus crime labs. 

"The collaborative possibilities between the university and the BCI lab are endless," said Mazey. "Not only will it enhance our already strong science and criminal justice programs, we will be able to offer a number of research opportunities to develop new cutting edge techniques."

The university will begin offering forensics as an undergraduate specialization this fall through the departments of criminal justice, chemistry, and biology, to help students prepare for careers in public safety and forensic sciences.

"For students to work as interns in our crime lab, and frankly, for other students who just want to go by the building, it's going to be a very open building," said DeWine.

The expanded BCI location will encompass about 30,000 square feet and serve law enforcement and prosecutors in 22 counties with on-site laboratory and investigative resources. The building will be built at North College Drive and Leroy Avenue. The SSOE Group was selected as the project architect and Quandel Construction Group will build the lab.

The new facility will cost $11.9 million and will replace the current BCI regional office on East Wooster Street. It is expected to be completed by fall 2014. 

Services at both the current and new facility include:

BCI On-Site Laboratory Services

  • Chemistry
  • Criminal Polygraph Examination
  • Evidence Receiving 
  • Firearms/Ballistics/Toolmark Examination
  • Forensic Biology
  • Latent Fingerprint
  • Trace Analysis

BCI On-Site Investigative Services

  • Crime Scene Unit
  • Crimes Against Children Unit
  • Criminal Intelligence Unit
  • Narcotics Unit
  • Special Investigation Unit
Kits that have been untested for more than a decade will be revisited, with hopes of arresting criminals who have escaped justice for too long. Wednesday's groundbreaking means they are one step closer to helping Ohio families heal.

"One out of every four we have tested and we've been able to go back to police departments and say, 'That's your rapist. Go arrest him.' Cases 17-18 years old," said DeWine.

DeWine says his goal is to make Ohio's crime lab the best in the nation.

A total of 90 percent of all law enforcement agencies use services provided by a BCI crime lab.

Last year, BCI agents investigated 1,600 cases and assisted in all 88 Ohio counties. They also tested 161,000 pieces of evidence for 829 agencies.
     
Other Ohio BCI locations include London and Richfield, but BGSU will be unique because of its partnership with the university.

"Anything you see on TV, everything you see on CSI, or any other crime show, we're already doing and we're doing it right here in Bowling Green," said DeWine.

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