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State may be playing role in Crime Lab site

CINCINNATI (Jeff Hirsh) -- Hamilton County's undersized and outmoded Coroner's Crime Lab is going to move to the vacant Mercy Franciscan \Hospital.

Publicly, County Commissioners have said the county will come up with the 21 million dollar fix-up costs, somehow.  But Local 12 News has learned that privately, the county administration has approached the state for help.

"We are working with the state Attorney General's office regarding getting a state regional crime lab here in Hamilton County," Chris Monzel, (R) County Commission President, told us.

In fact, it appears the county may have asked the state to take over the whole thing.  Although County Administrator, Christian Sigman, told commissioners in a memo the state is not interested in a crime lab facility in Hamilton County, even if the county were to build one for the state to operate at the Mount Airy Facility.  A county location is too far south.

However, the county is still pursuing the possibility of a regional lab here, perhaps jointly run with the County Coroner's lab.

"We shouldn't just say no without at least investigating it first," Monzel continued. 

However, the coroner says hold on just a minute.  A deal with the state could water down Hamilton County's ability to solve Hamilton County crimes.

"I think letting local people handle local needs for Hamilton County is the best way to do it," Dr. Sammarco, whose efforts led to the county getting the mount airy building for free, said.
She feels there are potential private dollars out there to fund the coroner's lab relocation.

"Not looking at those private-public partnerships and looking instead to the state for the money is really going to be a mistake," she said.

No decision yet on what will happen.  County Administrator Sigman says the assumption is it will be a county crime lab but coordination with the state could be reviewed before construction begins.

Also unresolved about Mount Airy will the Board of Elections move there from downtown.  The board is deadlocked and Secretary of State John Husted has not yet decided whether to break the tie and force the move.




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