Valdosta Police Have Their Building, But No Partners Yet

The Valdosta Police Department is still waiting to find out if the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office will join them in building a new crime lab.

The Valdosta police have their building, but no partners yet. At this point, the leaders with the Valdosta Police Department are still hopeful the Lowndes Sheriff's Office will help them in creating a joint crime lab.

Any time there is a local crime, authorities must process the evidence. The Valdosta police say they have outgrown their lab, and are now eager to turn the McCranie Building into a state of the art training center and crime lab.

Valdosta police Commander Steve Heaton says, "We're hoping what we can do is look at things like drug identification, chemical identification for arsons, that we historically have to wait long-term for to get test results."

Valdosta police say a better lab could be built if there is cooperation with the Sheriff's Office.

We tried contacting the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office to find out what their interest was in creating a joint crime lab along with the city. At this point, we haven't heard back from the sheriff, but leaders with the Valdosta police say creating a joint crime lab would benefit both departments.

"What we're trying to do is some type of consolidation, at least conceptually, where we can use services without having to go to two different places to do that," Heaton said.

The Valdosta Police Department has a half million dollars in tax money ear-marked for this project, and these experts say teaming up with the Sheriff's Office could help create a first class lab, which could get test results much quicker than waiting on the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Valdosta police hope to get some official word from the Sheriff's Office in the next few months; that way both agencies can have a say in planning the new crime lab.

Engineering experts are hoping to have the entire project wrapped up by the end of 2006.