The Denver Police Department recently opened a new $36 million dollar Crime lab, financed by bonds approved by voters. It's 60,000 square feet of state-of-the-art crime fighting tools.
Just like in the show CSI, investigators use DNA, blood samples, finger prints, trace evidence, debris from crime scenes, and a lot of other things to try and solve crimes.
It's bits and pieces of a puzzle and they are hoping they will fit together to either help convict a person, or show that person wasn't involved.
The new crime lab will help them accomplish the task much faster and much more thoroughly than before.
For many years Denver's crime lab was stuffed into rooms, hallways and closets at Police Headquarters. Given the limitations the work they did there was impressive.
Some of the biggest cases in the city were solved because of the work by crime lab investigators. For instance, in 1997, Janie Benedict was bound, raped and choked with a cord inside her Capitol Hill apartment.
The man who killed her broke out the bars in her window to escape. By doing that he got brick dust on his clothes. When Jacque Richardson was arrested nearby, technicians checked those clothes under microscopes and found the dust matched the brick dust at the scene. It was one of the things that led to Richardson's conviction.
Each year more than 16 ,000 cases go through the crime lab. The director says each one is personal.
"People want to know who raped me? Who murdered my brother? The job of the investigators in the crime lab is to use science to find out," Greg LaBarge said. "If you are a victim of crime or a potential victim of crime, you want the police to have the best resources to get to the bottom of it quickly."
That's what the new lab is all about. CSI, Denver for sure.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)