Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Marks the Opening of New Southern Utah Crime Lab
Commissioner Anderson joins Governor Cox, local legislators and law enforcement representatives to celebrate the opening of the new state crime lab in Cedar City.
At a media event on Monday, April 26th, representatives from Utah state government, the Department of Public Safety, Iron County law enforcement agencies and Cedar City government gathered to commemorate the opening of the new southern Utah branch of the state crime lab. The new lab will provide employment opportunities in rural Utah. Additionally, it will expand and enhance the forensic services provided not only regionally, but throughout the statewide system.
“I am proud to join the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, members of our legislature and representatives from local law enforcement for this event,” said DPS Commissioner Jess L. Anderson. “Today, the Department of Public Safety’s State Crime Lab, which is the only accredited, full-service forensic service provider in Utah, completes our statewide system with a northern, central and now southern crime lab.”
The new crime lab will contribute to DPS’ mission of Keeping Utah Safe in many ways. The local region will certainly benefit from the physical presence of additional forensic scientists. And the statewide system will benefit, too, as the additional crime lab staff members can assist with the analysis of case work anywhere in the state. With this lab, DPS will be able to provide more and better service at a local level – all around. Evidence submissions will be more convenient for law enforcement agencies. DPS will have experts right there in the community and available for in person case consultations. As cases get more complex and there are more disciplines and other types of analyses available at this lab, those case consultations will be essential to providing the best service possible. DPS will also have the opportunity to bolster our crime scene response now that we’ll have local analysts in the community. This lab will enable DPS to continue developing future forensic scientists as we build on our relationships with the regional universities – SUU and Dixie State. These scientists could wind up working in this building and will be leading the charge as we continue to stop, fight, prevent and solve crimes. This lab will not only close the geographical gap between southern Utah and our central lab. But it will also concentrate the forensic expertise in the community, not only in forensic analysis but also in courtroom testimony. A significant change will be the fact that the individuals doing the work at this lab will be the ones testifying in the court cases.
Below are photos and quotes from the press conference.
The opening of the new lab was made possible through the support of the Utah Legislature, and Utah State Senators Evan Vickers and Don Ipson and Utah State Representative Rex Shipp were in attendance at the ceremony.
Senator Ipson discussed how when the new lab is fully staffed, it will help to significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to process many cases. He also discussed the local and statewide benefits of the lab saying, “the whole state will be served by this. Iit’s a great rural project but it’s a statewide project, too.”
“We look forward to the good that will come from this,” said Utah State Senator Evan Vickers in his remarks. He credited Senator Ipson for leading the legislative efforts to get the new southern Utah crime lab created and shared that in addition to benefitting law enforcement, the new lab will also have an educational benefit for students at local universities.
Utah State Representative Rex Shipp shared his appreciation for the Cox administration’s commitment to expanding its presence and involvement in rural areas of Utah and cited the new lab as one way in which opportunities are expanding for the Cedar City area. “We are grateful for what it’s going to do for our area with regard to jobs as well as the opportunity to bless the lives of the local community by having these resources locally available.”
“I think the opening of the southern Utah crime lab is going to be a tremendous benefit and asset to the entire southern Utah community, especially victims of crime,” said Iron County Attorney Chad Dotson. “Modern day prosecutions require the highest standards of scientific and forensic evidence. The evidence that’s going to be processed here in this lab will be critical in both identifying suspects to be held accountable as well as exonerating the innocent.” After discussing the reduction in time to process evidence and the consultations that the lab’s forensic scientists will be able to provide, Attorney Dotson concluded his remarks by saying, “It has been said that the wheels of justice turn slowly but they grind exceedingly fine. In my experience, this is true. But with the opening of this new crime lab, it is my hope that the wheels of justice will turn a little bit more quickly but continue to grind fine.”
Cedar City Police Chief Darrin Adams expressed collective appreciation for the new lab on behalf of the local law enforcement agencies saying, “As law enforcement, we appreciate the support and resources, especially in rural Utah.” Remarking on the opening of the new lab, Chief Adams said, “The best success comes from great partnerships. Partnerships have never been better and lead to successes like this.”
“Today is a great day,” DPS Commissioner Anderson said. “This has been a long time coming. We have been working with the legislature and are grateful for their leadership and for the opportunity to see the opening of this lab come to pass.”
Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox concluded the press conference by saying, “These are the types of investments that I want to see more of, that I think you can expect more of. That the resources that have historically just been along the Wasatch Freont will be available to the people here [in rural areas.] Justice delayed is not justice served. That’s true, by the way, whether you’re guilty, but it’s especially true if you’re innocent.” Having the new state of the art crime lab in southern Utah “shows our commitment to public safety and law enforcement.”