MERIDEN — Gov. M. Jodi Rell and noted criminal pathologist Dr. Henry Lee helped cut the ribbon marking the recent opening of the new, $8 million centralized forensic science laboratory in Meriden.
The lab provides examiners three rooms stocked with the latest equipment dedicated to analyzing drugs and biological samples. The opening of the 21,750-square-foot addition marks the third and final phase of the lab’s expansion, completing a process that began in 1990.
Examiners now have the ability to analyze nearly any piece of evidence gathered by cops working a crime scene.
“From DNA analysis, entry into databanks, to firearms, fingerprints and trace evidence, this lab can do it all,” Rell said. “It’s not just the lab, it’s the people who work here.”
Forensic science is the name of the game in every police procedural, crime drama and murder mystery. It is one more instance of art imitating life, because thanks to pioneers like Dr. Henry Lee, Connecticut has long been a leader in this important field, Rell said.
The new, 21,750-square-foot addition houses the Controlled Substances and Toxicology Laboratories, the Computer Crimes and Electronic Evidence Unit, work stations, offices and storage areas.
Phase I of the project, completed in 1994, houses the DNA, CODIS data bank, Forensic Biology and Trace /Chemistry units. Phase II, completed in 1999, houses the Firearms and Toolmark unit, Photography/Imaging Lab, Latent Fingerprints and AFIS, Documents/Imprints Unit and lecture hall.
The Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory receives casework from state and local police and fire departments, prosecutors’ and public defenders’ offices and federal agencies. Cases range from identification of illicit substances to biological samples to computer crimes. Reports generated by the lab are used in criminal cases and are supported by the expert testimony of laboratory scientists.