Jefferson County plans to build its own crime lab

Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 6:51 PM CST
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JEFFERSON COUNTY (KMOV) -- Jefferson County Sheriff Dave Marshak is hoping to catch criminals and get them charged with crimes more quickly with the help of a planned, new crime lab. Currently, it can take 13-14 months to get the results of a DNA test from Missouri’s state crime lab operated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

“This is not an indictment on the highway patrol crime lab. They’re incredibly backlogged. They have to prioritize cases throughout the state of Missouri. We think our citizens deserve better,” said Marshak.

Jefferson County First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Travis Partney, said quicker lab results will lead to charges being issued sooner. And he said that will lead to suspects being arrested or being supervised by the court and ultimately fewer crimes being committed.

“The single biggest issue that citizens have, hey why is this person, why are they racking up five or six cases? Why aren’t they locked up? Well, the problem is we cannot go forward on those cases without that testing,” he said.

Sheriff Marshak gave a presentation to the Jefferson County Council on plans for the crime lab Monday night. Preliminary plans call for it to go in a sheriff’s department evidence storage building in Pevely. It will be paid for with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

“Our leadership from the county executive to the county council believes this is a wise use of the money,” said Marshak.

Plans for the crime lab are in their early stages and no estimate has been given on the cost.