WPD turns crime lab over to New Hanover County

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Eleven years after the Wilmington Police Department opened the crime lab, it’s now being transferred to New Hanover County.

The announcement came during a joint news conference with Wilmington Police and the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office.

According to Wilmington Police, this comes after months of discussion and an evaluation of the labs functions. The lab has provided quick turn-around blood alcohol testing for DWI cases and drug testing which in turn helps to alleviate over-crowding in the county’s jail and helps to manage and stream-line packed court dockets.

That’s why WPD says the appropriate place for the lab to reside is with the County.

Police say they are still in the early phases of working out the final details which includes the handling of existing cases and the timeline when official testing under the county will begin. This action will require approval of both City and County governing boards.

In 2008, the Wilmington Police Department opened the crime lab as a model in hopes of creating a regional lab that would soon find an appropriate home – and says now they have.

Police say the lab has proven to be a huge success among more than 30 agencies in the region, but throughout the years they have always faced funding challenges for the lab with limited funding from across the region and the state.

The City of Wilmington has subsidized the majority of the labs annual budget for the past 11 years.

Police say in January of this year they addressed a critical personnel issue which led us to closely review the labs operations, protocols and procedures and the possibility of moving the lab.

The county will now oversee the daily operations of the lab and provide 60% of the funding. The city will provide 40% of the funding.

The lab will remain in its current location.

The move will become official July 1.

Categories: Local, New Hanover

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