Sheriff Wants Crime Lab Kept Local

Funding issues may force Broward to cut crime lab

Sheriff Al Lamberti wants the Broward County Crime Lab to stay put, and he's looking at every possible option to keep the $7 million a year operation running.

"How we fund it, I am more than willing to participate in that discussion," Lamberti said yesterday, in an interview with NBC.

He's considering everything from using state funding to charging local entities that use the lab in the hopes of keeping the lab in-house and nearby.

"One of the suggestions to me was to have FDLE, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, come in and operate it on behalf of Broward County," he said.

The crime lab has been in operation in Broward since 1969, but with the state of the economy, auditors and county commissioners are searching for funds to keep it going.

Lamberti said it's essential that the crime lab stay in Broward, for the sake of solving crimes before it's too late.

He points to the recent case of a Taco Bell manager found dead in an Oakland Park restaurant. About the only thing Lamvberti's detectives had to go on were fingerprints on a cup left at the scene.

"The closest state lab to Broward County is Fort Meyers. The evidence would have had to been transported there, analyzed," Lamberti said. "It would have been weeks before we got those finger prints back."

The lab lifted the prints, and the BSO had a suspect nabbed in the same day, before he could run.

"Within 21 hours we had the evidence analyzed, mainly finger prints, and we had the suspect in custody, all within 21 hours," Lamberti said.

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