SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a $2.5 million Fiscal Year 2005 appropriation to plan and design a state-of-the-art Forensic Science Laboratory for the Illinois State Police (ISP) in Belleville. This new lab will serve not only those in the Metro-East area, but also law enforcement personnel in eight Illinois counties totaling over 150 agencies with a population of approximately 675,000. The new lab will affirm the ISP as the second largest network of criminal forensic labs in the country next to the FBI.
For nearly 20 years, ISP has leased a 15,000 square feet of office space as its laboratory in Fairview Heights (Metro East). The building can no longer accommodate technological changes, casework growth and staffing.
The planning and design of the new 50,000 square foot laboratory will provide more efficient forensic science laboratory space for the most advanced and sophisticated evidence analysis. The former two story high school was chosen to be converted into the ISP laboratory because it is connected by highways, has ample parking, and close to an airport. With multiple police agencies traveling to the new laboratory, the residents will have additional security.
“As I have stated in the past, the safety of Illinois citizens will not be compromised, even in light of our current fiscal situation,” Blagojevich said. “This new forensic laboratory will assist criminal justice agencies with the successful prosecution of criminals.” In January, at the Governor’s urging, ISP and Office of Management and Budget reviewed the fiscal year 2004 ISP budget to identify $2.6 million to reduce the case backlog at the labs. The funds will be used to hire and train forensic scientists to conduct DNA analysis and outsource casework to private forensic labs.
The Illinois State Police anticipates the new Belleville lab to be operational in 2006.