Tulsa Crime Lab Goes High-Tech
April 23, 2011
The cramped confines of the old Tulsa Police Department Forensic Laboratory and Property Room now seem light years behind the state- of-the art facilities where criminal evidence is now stored and tested.
In fact, the high-tech Tulsa Police Laboratory could receive an international accreditation.
After months of work, lab examiners are waiting for word from the American Society of Crime Lab Directors about the accreditation, which lab director Tara Valouch described as a “big step in the right direction.”
Both the police lab and the property room moved in February 2010 from the first floor of the downtown police station to the Forensic Sciences and Biomedical Research Facility at OSU’s Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa. The 125,000-square-foot facility at 1111 W. 17th St. houses the evidence room and forensic lab on the first and second floor.
“It is absolutely wonderful. The space has increased four times compared to the previous space, from 6,000 to 24,000 square feet. Everybody has a little more room to do their analysis,” Valouch said. “The work flow has benefited, so the case loads will benefit.”
The third, fourth and fifth floors are used for teaching and research by OSU forensics and biomedical faculty members and graduate students. The nearly $39 million project was paid for by higher education and city bonds, grants and the city’s 2001 and 2006 third-penny sales taxes.
There are 17 people now working in the police laboratory, conducting DNA, toxicology and firearms testing, as well as studies on blood splatter, latent prints and other crime-scene evidence.
The examiners had input on how to design the space, from the heights of the benches to the shelving, Valouch said.