$26M Crime Lab Gleams, But Lacks Key Funding

SHREVEPORT, LA (AP) — The North Louisiana Criminalistics Laboratory being constructed in Shreveport promises to offer high-level forensic testing services, some of which aren't currently available anywhere in the state.

         But despite receiving $26 million from the government in capital outlay funds the crime lab doesn't have enough money to staff and operate the new 83,000 square foot building at full capacity.

         Jimmy Barnhill, the lab's system director, tells The Times’s Maya Lau the center is hoping to double its current staff size of around 30. Even now, Barnhill says there are seven positions open, but the organization can't afford to fill them.

         A Nov. 15, 2013, news release from Gov. Bobby Jindal said the construction will "spur the creation of up to 30 new jobs at the crime lab with average salaries of $65,000."

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