Additions to the state's Western Laboratory are expected to decrease turnaround times for cases. The lab serves 35 counties and independent cities. Just last week, it secured money for the new facility which is expected to cost several million dollars. The upgrades will mean more jobs and ability to handle more work too.
Right now the lab works on 14,000 criminal cases a year. It has hired a downtown Roanoke developer and expected to start demolition in December. Some of the things employees are excited for is to have more room and the new tools they can get.
"This gives us an opportunity not only to add new equipment but more equipment to existing technology," says Kevin Patrick of the Department of Forensic Science Lab Director.
The original building was built in 1995 and there have been no renovations to it since then.
Tuesday is the first night for volunteers enrolled in this fall's Citizen's Academy. Some choose to continue that training through the Citizens on Patrol Academy.