Funds allocated for new state crime lab planned in Wauwatosa

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Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday announced $99.5 million of the State Building Commission’s approval of $306 million in funds will go toward creating a new state crime lab in Wauwatosa, replacing the current facility in Milwaukee.

Attorney General Josh Kaul told BizTimes the announcement is welcome news as the process has been in the works for years.

“The current facility is decades old and out of date,” Kaul said in a phone interview. “It has taken several administrations for the ball to start rolling on this project.”

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The current crime lab at 1578 S. 11th St. will be replaced by a 92,000-square-foot facility at Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus in Wauwatosa. The new crime lab will be a joint facility with the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management and Medical Examiner’s Office. Kaul also said the new facility will be a training site for students at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

“This is a win-win because it’s a joint facility,” he said. “There are multiple administrations involved in this project.”

Although the total amount of funding remains under consideration, a press release by the Building Commission states the cost of the new facility should not exceed more than $99.5 million.

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Kaul added the future crime lab will have more space, which will create faster turnaround time for results.

“More space will allow for more work flow,” Kaul said, noting there will be up-to-date technology and instrumentation to conduct tests for evidence.

While multiple sites in Milwaukee have been considered, Kaul said Wauwatosa was optimal with its proximity to the Medical College.

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Kaul said it will take several years before the project will be completed. When finished the Milwaukee Crime Lab will no longer be part of the state Department of Justice. Future plans for the building have not been decided, he said.

The state has two more crime labs in Madison and Wausau, but the Milwaukee location is critical for certain types of testing. Kaul added while construction takes place for the new lab, testing will not be compromised.

There are approximately 185 employees among the three crime labs, about 65 of which work in Milwaukee. Kaul said he expects the new facility to have more employees.

“With a bigger facility there is going to be more growth,” he said.

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