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Commissioners Approve New Crime Lab

MOUNT AIRY, Ohio (Deb Dixon) -- It took a year but the decision was unanimous Wednesday. 

Hamilton County Commissioners voted to accept the offer from Catholic Health Partners, a gift of the vacated Mercy Hospital in Mt Airy to be used for a new state of the art crime lab.
In making the announcement, Commissioner Chris Monzel called the offer a gift that will be remembered  for generations and an opportunity of a lifetime for the county.
The 41-year-old crime lab is outdated, cramped, inadequately wired, and not designed for what goes on there now. Thousands of pieces of evidence are analyzed at the crime lab a year. Scientists are crammed in so closely there is fear of evidence contamination.
Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco said the new lab will  have an impact on how quickly, accurately and efficiently cases are prepared for court.  The crime lab director said he's thrilled the commissioners put aside politics and made the right decision. 

Mike Trimpe said the crime lab doesn't care about politics, but cares about finding the truth in death and criminal investigations.
The Catholic Health Partner's offer was about to run out.  For a while the need for a lab got lost in politics when commissioners suggested the Hamilton County Board of Elections should move to Mt Airy too. The debate between Republicans and Democrats seemed to overshadow the need for a new crime lab, until Wednesday's vote.
Sheriff Jim Neil hopes to move other county offices to the complex, including detectives from the Sheriff's Office and the Cincinnati Police Department.

"Imagine,"  he says, "detectives from two departments, working together, sharing notes, networking. An opportunity to get better at what we do."




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