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Nov 20, 2013 10:00 PM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck

Acadiana Crime Lab predicting budget shortfall

A critical part of criminal investigations across Acadiana could be in jeopardy. The Acadiana Crime Lab is currently trying to solve a fiscal problem.

The crime lab has operated on a budget of about 2.5 million dollars a year since 2009. However in 2015, the lab is facing a 500,000 dollar budget shortfall.

Its funding comes from court fees, but in the last five years, collections have decreased by about 550,000 dollars, and 200,000 of that has been in the last year.

"The services we provide are critical to the people that we serve," Director of the Acadiana Crime Lab Kevin Ardoin said.

The lab is reaching out to lawmakers to find additional funding for their services.

"It's very important. It's a matter of public safety that we address these funding issues and get it corrected, and find a funding source so it can move on, and provide the services that are so necessary to the citizens of Acadiana," Adroin says.

If funding issues aren't resolved and services are decreased, law enforcement would have to look at other options to handle evidence.

"That could become costly for us because being that the lab is here locally, we're afforded to be able to transport our evidence to the lab ourselves," Corporal Paul Mouton said, who works for Lafayette Police. "Otherwise we'd have to look at shipping mechanisms and things of that nature to get the evidence to that particular location," he said.

"Maintaining our services is really my primary goal and getting collections up to match our expenditures and maintain our level of service," Ardoin said.

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