GBI Crime Lab Gets Funding to Stay Open

By Laurie Bernstein - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - As both houses of the Georgia Legislature passed their versions of the 2010 budget, the local GBI office in Columbus received their good news.

Right now, current versions of the budget will keep the Columbus Crime Lab open through 2010, as well as other labs in Moultrie and Summerville.

All three crime labs were slated for closure last year, after Governor Perdue mandated across the board cuts, and the GBI saw a major chunk of its budget taken away.

The House has the lab funded through nine months of the year, while the Senate has it funded through all 12 months of the year, according to GBI's Director of Public Affairs, John Bankhead.

It will be up to a conference committee to iron out the differences between the two versions.

Police and sheriff's deputies say they rely on the Crime Lab for quick forensics tests, and if the local lab were to close, it would force them to drive to Atlanta, which would make the process take longer.

Friday is the end of the legislative session, and a final decision on how long the Crime Lab will be funded should