Stressing the need for quick and accurate evidence processing as part of the public safety process, Gilbert Police Chief Michael Soelberg recently presented his case for developing a crime lab to the Town Council during a retreat.
Gilbert currently contracts with Mesa for processing evidence and has since 2012. The cost for the partnership will increase by 25% at the start of the next fiscal year, however, and the current contract expires June 30th. Mesa has also entered into processing agreements with Tempe and Queen Creek, making Soelberg concerned about potential processing delays.
Gilbert entered into an agreement with consultants McClaren, Wilson & Lawrie, Inc last year to evaluate developing its own crime lab. The findings estimated a cost of between $36M and $41M to build and equip a new facility. Costs would increase if the Town partnered with other agencies.
Soelberg asked the Council for guidance on whether to continue looking into the Town building its own lab or looking into a longer-term contract with Mesa.
He also updated members on plans for an advocacy center, which would put police, medical staff and support providers in one facility to handle victims and those impacted by crimes like domestic violence, sexual assault and homicide. The central location would let victims recount their stories to all the necessary personnel without having to repeat (and relive) them multiple times.
The latest cost estimate for the center is $24.2M. (Source)