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St. Croix Should Build Forensic Lab

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Dear Source:

In your Feb. 3, 2006 article entitled, "Money, Manpower Needed to Improve Crime Fight," Assistant Attorney General Charlotte Poole Davis was quoted as saying that, among other things, "…money is needed for…the building of a lab in the territory to test evidence related to drug and sexual assault cases…such evidence is presently sent off -island to be tested, and is generally not returned by the time certain cases are up for consideration in court."
As most crime victims in the territory know, even basic fingerprinting of a crime scene is haphazard at best. I would venture to guess that if one forensic technician is available on each island even that estimate might be generous.
Forensic technology is growing by leaps and bounds, and forensic labs throughout the mainland are overwhelmed not only by the influx of evidence from new cases but the plethora of requests relating to cold cases in which evidence was literally shelved because the technology wasn't available at the time.
St. Croix needs business and has ample space available for "clean" technology. What better than a state of the art diagnostic forensic facility? It would be a win-win situation for the Virgin Islands, not only enabling us the wherewithal to process our own crime scene evidence but also to offer our services to other jurisdictions in the United States.
The initial staffing would probably have to come from outside, but training could be offered to Virgin Islanders. The institution of the facility in itself just might inspire our youth to aspire to a higher education in order to be part of what could eventually be a truly first class operation.
We have the perfect environment here to set up such a lab and I urge our senators, the VIPD and the Justice Department to have some foresight, get together and seriously investigate the creation of such a facility.

Anna Clarke
St. Thomas

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