Local Mississippi Crime Lab Backlogged, Seeks New Equipment

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — An area crime laboratory in north Mississippi has a drug evaluation backlog, and the director says it wants newer gear to maintain up with demand.

Columbus Crime Lab director Claudette Gilman advised the Columbus Metropolis Council that the lab is shedding enterprise resulting from its backlog that stretches again to 2020, the Business Dispatch reported. A offender is an outdated gasoline chromatography/mass spectrometry machine.

Gilman mentioned the lab offers providers for greater than 25 businesses round Mississippi, and one of many greatest areas is analyzing proof in drug circumstances.

“Our drug lab is the workhorse of our lab,” she mentioned Thursday. “It offers 90% of the providers that we do. We’re utilizing a GC/MS that was refurbished. It’s a 2001 construct, utilizing know-how from 1996. … Ultimately, we’re not going to have the ability to repair it. If it breaks, we’re not going to have the ability to discover components for it.”

Gilman requested for a brand new GC/MS, “perhaps two, if you happen to’re feeling frisky.”

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She estimated the associated fee per unit at $185,000, however mentioned that will get the town a machine that’s “a step underneath” the newest mannequin. In 2020 the identical machine price $155,000.

The lab obtained 968 circumstances in 2020, and 26 are nonetheless excellent. It obtained 1,095 circumstances in 2021 and has obtained 437 circumstances to this point this 12 months.

That backlog has price the crime lab a significant shopper already, she mentioned.

“DeSoto County began utilizing us in July 2020,” she mentioned. “From July 2020 to March 2021 they introduced 414 circumstances to us.”

A drug evaluation runs $60, she mentioned, which means that work generated $24,840.

“They don’t seem to be going to make use of us anymore due to our turnaround time,” she mentioned.

Councilwoman Jacqueline DiCicco requested how a lot a brand new machine would matter. Gilman mentioned it might drastically shorten the turnaround.

“We’re getting a variety of tablet circumstances, and one tablet case took two months of straight working on our one GC/MS,” Gilman mentioned. “That was the one case I may work, but when I had a secondary machine, and probably a 3rd one, different circumstances might be working concurrently.”

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