Most small law enforcement agencies have to rely on larger agencies to process even the most basic of crime scene information for them. This is because their lab equipment isn't advanced enough to handle the job. The problem for the small agency, however, is the fact the larger agency's labs are usually backed up and valuable time can be lost in the processing and ultimate catching of the bad guy.
Saving precious time can sometimes be as simple as adding a proper fume hood station to a lab to enable local technicians to take over the jobs. While not every test required in law enforcement will be enabled by this purchase, many will. Each piece of information that falls into place in a timely fashion is one step closer to closing the case for the agency involved.
Fume hoods are required for everything from fingerprint analysis to fiber tests and beyond. When a good ventilation system isn't present, the tests simply cannot be done safely on site. This is because of the chemicals used in the testing process. They must be removed from the air along with dust. If a good hood isn't in place, the local agency cannot do the job. If technicians try without correct ventilation, the chemicals can cause serious problems for those in the lab.
When a properly functioning exhaust system is in place, the advantages to local law enforcement agencies are many. They include:
* Control. The larger agency labs are great and they do what they can to help smaller agencies solve their crimes and catch the bad guys, but sometimes answers are needed now, not on the schedule the larger lab can offer. When at least the basic tests can be run on site, a local agency retains some level of control over their cases.
* Speed. Since basic tests generally don't take that long to perform, there can be more immediate answers to help detectives solve a case. If the evidence has to be shipped out, a lot of time can be added on to the process. This isn't good for anyone involved, except the bad guy.
* Accountability. When bad things happen at the large lab, the local agency usually doesn't have control. But if the lab in question is the agency's own, there is a level of accountability over the evidence and its processing.
* Utilization of technicians. Most agencies have crime scene technicians, but if the equipment they need isn't in place, they're not being used to their full extent. This means a valuable position is only being partially used. A decent lab set up can solve this and the expenses can be justified by the time these employees will give back to detectives in the field.
The key in many law enforcement cases is time. When even the most simple of evidence has to be shipped out for processing, time is lost and a lot of it in most cases. Thanks to equipment like a good fume hood, local technicians can handle some of the evidence processing and speed up the collection of evidence for detectives in the field. This means a valuable time savings that can result in a solved case.
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