Fight to keep Columbus crime lab intensifies

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The fate of the GBI Crime Lab in Columbus rests in the hands of the Georgia Legislature.

The city of Columbus is now funding the lab until the end of this fiscal year.

According to Fraternal Order of Police President Randy Robertson, a vote will determine whether it stays open with state funding past that date, serving 19 counties, or whether its closed and the services move to Atlanta.

"I think the mayor and the city manager, along with the council and our legislative delegation have met every stipulation that's been laid out by the GBI and the Lieutenant Governor's office," Robertson said.

That vote could come in as little as two to three weeks.

Despite all the lobbying, all the support, the GBI's crime lab in Columbus has gained, it has equally as much opposition.

In fact, the decision to keep it open could all come down to one person.

Georgia governor Sonny Perdue.

He has the final authority over the budget.

If the legislature funds the lab, he could potentially sign a line-item veto that would deny the funds and close it down anyway.

"I think it's just going to come down to whether he sees the need here, which is obvious to all of us, to leave this crime lab open, or if he takes one last jab at Columbus on his way out and snatches it from us," Robertson said.

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