- Associated Press - Saturday, September 20, 2014

ARVADA, Colo. (AP) - The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is moving its forensics lab to a bigger building to accommodate a rising demand for DNA analysis.

The Denver Post (https://dpo.st/1BX6bqK ) reported Saturday that the agency will move into industrial building in Arvada that is three times the size of the Lakewood lab it operated for more than 20 years. The lab will have state-of-the-art equipment for DNA analysis of crime-scene evidence, which has become more important in criminal cases.

The agency said it received 2,174 requests to test DNA in 2012 and 2,306 cases last year, compared with the 2,485 it has received so far this year.

The agency says its DNA caseload has increased partly because of a 2013 state law tightening requirements for testing evidence from sex assaults. Jan Girten, the agency’s deputy director of forensic services, said the volume of rape-kit testing alone could quadruple each year as a result of the new law, which requires police to submit evidence in sex-assault cases to an accredited state lab within 30 days.

The agency says the new lab will help improve turnaround time.

“Forensic analysis is under constant scrutiny by the defense community and the criminal justice community,” Girten said.

Officials expect the facility to be functional by May, and they said it will cost $8 million to make it operational. Fifty-two members of the forensic services staff will work in the new building, and most of the new personnel will work in the DNA section. Thirty-eight people work in the existing Lakewood lab.

Its staff will also test fingerprints, gunshot residue, drug chemistry and other evidence.

The Arvada lab is set to open about a month after the Colorado Bureau of Investigation moves into a new forensics facility in Pueblo West, which replaces one that already exists in a Pueblo strip mall.


Information from: The Denver Post, https://www.denverpost.com

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