Denver’s new 60,000-sq-ft Police Crime Laboratory celebrated its topping out in early September. The $36-million facility will replace the city’s existing 14,000-sq-ft lab, currently housed in the Police Administration Building.
With the additional 46,000 sq ft, the Denver Police Dept. can offer improved forensic and evidence-handling resources to scientists and investigators. The building features three levels of lab and office space and will connect to the Police Administration Complex at 14th Avenue between Cherokee and Delaware streets.
The secure connection from the lab to the Denver Evidence Bureau will ensure maximum protection of forensic evidence. Last year, Denver’s Crime Lab handled more than 10,000 cases, so the building was designed to allow for flexibility as the laboratory’s needs evolve in the future.
“This new crime laboratory and its state-of-the-art technology will better serve our investigators and ultimately the entire Denver community,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. “The new lab will not only improve working conditions for our Police Department, it will also provide better equipment and resources for handling these cases.”
The architectural team of Durrant and SmithGroup, both of Denver, designed the new lab building, which is being built by Denver’s JE Dunn Construction. The city will seek LEED certification for the project, which features energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emission reduction and improved indoor air quality. The materials selected for the building are intended to address security and longevity, in addition to complementing the surrounding Civic Center architecture.
“The Denver crime laboratory building is progressing on schedule,” said Gregg LeBerge, director of the Denver Police Crime Lab. “The construction team has kept the management team at DPD informed in all steps of the building…and we are on schedule to open the most modern forensic science laboratory in the world next June.”
The new facility will enable the Denver Crime Laboratory Bureau to consolidate all of its services under one roof and provide capacity for on-site vehicle examinations, currently being conducted at outlying Police District Substations. Consolidation is expected to enhance communication, coordination and efficiency of the laboratory workflow.
Units managed by the bureau include: Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Forensic Chemistry and Trace Evidence Unit, Firearms and Toolmarks Unit, Latent Prints Unit, Forensic Imaging Unit-video and photographic analysis, Forensic Biology and DNA Unit, Quality Assurance Unit, and the Crime Scene Volunteer Unit.
The new crime lab is funded though the City and County of Denver’s Better Denver Bond Program passed by voters in 2007 to support enhancements and new construction of city facilities. The program is geared to improve, preserve, renovate and build new roads, libraries, parks, hospitals, public safety buildings and cultural facilities, among others.