Audio – Senator Keith Ingram Reporting News From 91st General Assembly
August 9th, 2018 • News

August 9, 2018

  • It’s hard to say which television shows are the most far-fetched and unbelievable. At the top of the list would be shows like CSI Miami, where they use forensic science to solve impossible crimes, even if they were committed in the distant past. Real law enforcement officers know that you cannot solve every crime with a smart phone and amazing computer graphics. However, they do appreciate the forensics team at the state Crime Lab.
  • The good news for Arkansas is that the Crime Lab has received funding to open a new branch early next year. Although it will be in northwest Arkansas, it is good news for law enforcement agencies throughout the state. The new facility will free up personnel in Little Rock, who must be on the road for hours to testify in court and pick up samples for analysis.
  • The Crime Lab also has a facility in Hope, although its mission is limited to analysis of illegal drugs and running fingerprints. Opening the new Crime Lab will relieve the current backlog of cases, not only from eastern Arkansas but from every other part of the state.
  • That means faster turnaround when the police need to run DNA samples and fingerprints. I have a particular interest in making sure the Crime Lab has the resources it needs to analyze DNA samples. I was a co-sponsor of legislation that became Juli’s Law, named after a young lady from Benton who was murdered in 1996. A DNA match led the police to her killer.
  • In 2015 I sponsored legislation that expanded the collection of DNA samples to include anyone arrested on felony charges and not just those arrested for violent crimes.
  • The Crime Lab’s mission becomes more important every year, because the police are developing so many innovative technologies. The Lab performs autopsies in murder cases, and when the cause of death raises questions. If poisons are drugs are found in a body, they provide all the details to law enforcement.
  • They conduct ballistic tests and they analyze chemicals in illegal substances. When a cell phone or a laptop computer is discovered at a crime scene, the Crime Lab examines it for any data that could help the police. So keep in mind that the work done at the Crime Lab isn’t like what you see on TV. It’s actually more fascinating and dramatic, because it benefits real people.
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