Crime lab finds home PDF Print E-mail
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel County Editor   
Friday, 08 March 2013 10:53
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Tennis Courts near the BGSU Parking and Police Offices on the Bowling Green State University Campus. (Photos: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
The next clue for the state's crime lab future in Bowling Green has been revealed.
The Bureau of Criminal Investigation's new lab will be built on the Bowling Green State University campus at the corner of North College Drive and Leroy Avenue - close to the university's cluster of science buildings.
The Ohio Attorney General's Office reported Thursday that ground is expected to be broken later this summer for the lab, which is being funded by $11.9 million from the capital budget. The facility should be completed by fall of 2014.
The crime lab has outgrown its current location in Greenwood Centre, on East Wooster Street in Bowling Green, according to Tom Stickrath, BCI superintendent.
The BCI site offers lab services to law enforcement throughout the region, such as: Criminal polygraph examination, evidence receiving location, chemistry, firearms and ballistic exams, forensic biology, fingerprint analysis, and trace evidence analysis.
The site also offers investigative services such as: Crime scene unit, crimes against children unit, criminal intelligence unit, narcotics unit and special investigative unit.
The decision to build a crime lab at BGSU is the latest chapter in the story of the BCI lab in Bowling Green. A few years ago, then attorney general Marc Dann threatened to close the lab and move it to Toledo, angering some local law enforcement officials.
When DeWine ran for the state office, he promised to keep the lab in Bowling Green. However, concerns were raised again when the DNA portion of the lab was moved to the BCI lab in Richfield.
But DeWine said he was committed to keeping the lab here. The crime lab, he said, is the "heart and soul" of the state attorney general's office. The BCI lab supports local law enforcement in solving crimes - much like the TV drama "CSI," DeWine said during a visit to the Bowling Green site last year.
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This is the location chosen for the new BCI crime lab.
"Through a partnership with the school we can work together to advance forensic sciences in Ohio while helping to prepare the state's next generation of scientists and investigators," DeWine said.
BGSU will be one of a small number of colleges nationally with an on-campus crime lab, and BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey said the university is just beginning to explore ways it can collaborate with the new lab.
"Having the crime lab on campus creates new opportunities for academic programming and research," Mazey said. "The partnership will help build upon our strengths in the sciences and criminal justice."
Starting next fall, BGSU will offer forensics as an undergraduate specialization through the departments of criminal justice, chemistry and biology, helping prepare students for careers in public safety and forensic sciences.
The SSOE Group has been selected as the project architect, and Quandel Construction Group will build the crime lab.
The 40,000-square foot building will be located where tennis courts now sit. "It will take up all of that green space," said Mike Schuessler, BGSU project manager.
New tennis courts are planned in the area near Harshman-Kreischer residence halls, Schuessler said.
The BCI location was selected with the use of the facility in mind.
"It's a working crime lab," Schuessler said. "It's used by a lot of law enforcement from across the state."
The lab will be constructed so that public tours can be offered. However, Schuessler said it is unlikely students will actually work at the site since the evidence cannot be compromised.
 

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