Cuyahoga County opens new, expanded regional forensic lab

Cuyahoga County opens new, expanded regional forensic lab

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas P. Gilson, and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty unveiled the county's new Regional Forensic Science Laboratory Tuesday.

"The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office has a rich history of being on the forefront of forensic science, and the opening of the new expanded Regional Forensic Science Laboratory is a testament to their relentless work in the pursuit of justice," said County Executive FitzGerald. "I applaud Dr. Gilson and his entire staff for their unwavering commitment to ensure Cuyahoga County residents are served with the very best forensic services available today."

The use of the new laboratory will provide significant benefits for County residents, including:

•     A localized approach, which saves municipalities time and allows for rapid response in emergency situations or meeting critical deadlines

•     Improved efficiencies in day-to-day execution including the use of new DNA robotics

•     Expanded services, such as latent fingerprinting and ballistics testing, resulting in greater convenience for local agencies

•     An expanded evidence submission area, which enhances evidence flow and tracking for law enforcement officials

•     Courier services provided by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, which save time and manpower for local departments.

The $2.5 million laboratory expansion was completed using settlement funds reserved by court order through the trial of convicted swindler Frank Gruttadauria.

The project was completed without the use of taxpayer funds.

"The importance of having a state-of-the-art crime lab was demonstrated last week when forensic scientists were able to quickly match touch DNA from a Lakewood rape victim to 'Early Morning Rapist' James Daniel III," said Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty. "This is a vital resource for solving crimes and getting habitual offenders off our streets, and we are pleased to see the Crime Lab growing."

The Cuyahoga County Regional Forensic Science Laboratory will continue to provide quality forensic services for Cuyahoga County communities, as well as neighboring counties.

These services consist of ballistics, DNA, drug chemistry, fingerprints, toxicology, trace evidence, and parentage and identification testing.

"This is an exciting moment for the Medical Examiner's Office," said Dr. Gilson. "Forensic science has seen significant changes recently and the expanded forensic laboratory enables us to bring state-of-the-art science to service of our community's citizens. Many people have helped make this laboratory a reality, and I am specifically grateful to Executive FitzGerald for seeing this important task through to completion."

Since FitzGerald appointed Dr. Gilson as the County's first Medical Examiner in 2011, the Regional Forensic Science Laboratory has received accreditations from the American Society of Crime Lab Directors, American Association of Blood Banks, and the American Board of Forensic Toxicology.

The facility has also met FBI Quality Assurance Standards for inclusion in both the Combined and National DNA Index Systems.

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