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Acadiana District Attorneys seek to build New Crime Lab

Acadiana Crime Lab
Posted at 11:49 AM, May 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-17 12:49:41-04

District attorneys across Acadiana are working to get state funding-- for a new crime lab.

They say it's a facility in disrepair-- that could jeopardize the integrity of criminal investigations...

Iberia Parish District Attorney Bo Duhe says the improvements are long overdue. He says improvements are overdue.

Violent crimes, sexual assault, and attempted homicide cases are all investigated through this current crime lab.

Kevin Ardoin of the Acadiana crime lab says important data needed to solve crimes are at risk in this facility.

"We believe this is a very important project that serves people of the community. And we just believe that if you're gonna provide such an exceptionally important service, you need to house it in a proper way,” Kevin Ardoin of the Acadiana Crime Laboratory said.

Ardoin also says space is also a factor.

"So we have space issues, space limitations in a laboratory and also it's not just space, it's also the condition of the lab. We are in the lab in a metal building. The roof, in particular, has a lot of issues, a lot of rusting and a word about the integrity of that roof of the building,” Ardoin said.

Bo Duhe' is one of three district attorneys-- working to raise awareness-- and money for the new facility.

"We have significant DNA evidence and other evidence related to major violent crimes and sex offenses. And all of that is at risk, if I can analogize it's kinda like what happened in New Orleans. During Katrina. There was evidence stored in the basement and it all got flooded and they lost the ability to prosecute several cases because he didn't have the evidence any longer to support that case,” Duhe said.

The facility would be funded through a nearly 20 million dollar capital outlay fund, however, to receive the funds The region would need to show at least $5 million dollars for fund approval.

"So we're looking to raise commitments for up to 25% of the $5 million match for the capital outlay project which is necessary for the legislature to have confidence that we can go forward,'' Duhe said.

Each Parish or City contribution amount is based on the number of cases brought to the lab in 2019.

St. Martinville committed 30,000 dollars Monday night.

"We house a lot of expensive things, equipment with good employees. So we just need to house it in a better way. And we think because of the role we play, we think it's vital to do,” Ardoin said.

State representatives are expected to take a vote on the capital outlay next month to fund the project.

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