Curbing the Chaos

For years criminal evidence collected by local authorities would be sent off for inspection by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.

Commander Steve Heaton with the Valdosta Police Department says, "With the cutbacks in GBI's budgets we've had to make some adjustments to deal with the backlog of cases they had in the certain areas we could."

Those adjustments included a massive expansion of which evidence could be processed at Valdosta police headquarters.

LT Keith Anderson, Crime Scene Unit Supervisor, says, "Our evidence area collects close to 4,000 items a month for processing, like fingerprint analysis, semen analysis or hair and fibers."

Investigators say having to deal with the challenges presented by the GBI's slowdown has actually made local departments like VPD even better than they were before.

Anderson adds, "We have a quicker turnaround and not only helps our investigators, but it also helps the prosecution and with the DA's office to get the results as fast as you can."

Even though this is considered a "mini-lab" by Valdosta police, they say there are plenty of local resources to help them out.

Heaton says, "Some of the services we don't have here [that] our counter parts at the county Sheriff's Office have, so we're extremely blessed in our area."