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Alaska State Crime Lab Fact Sheet

Alaska State Crime Lab Fact Sheet

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Published by: Jeremy Thompson on Jun 11, 2012
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PB-0033 • March 22, 2010

Alaska State Crime Lab expansion project fact sheet
 The crime laboratory being proposed for Alaska will be one of the most expensive ever constructed in the United States, and that does not include the cost that will be required to finish the 19% shell space.  Compared to other states, the number of criminal cases submitted to Alaska’s crime laboratory is among the lowest in the nation.  Alaska has the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of forcible rape in the nation. However, crime rates should never be used to properly size a crime laboratory. That’s like saying since Alaska is the largest state in the union, it should have the largest crime lab.  In terms of rate of violent crimes/100,000, Alaska is ranks #9, between Florida and California. When you look at the total number of violent crimes, Alaska’s total pales in comparison to these two states. Alaska had 4,474 violent crimes, California had 185,173, and Florida had 126,265.  Alaska’s unfinished new crime laboratory will be seventeen times the cost of North Dakota’s new crime lab.  Alaska has already spent 1/3 more than it took to build the North Dakota laboratory on dumping gravel into the wetlands construction site. (ND Lab = $5.3 million, Alaska gravel = $8 million) Why couldn’t the State find a building site that wasn’t over wetlands?

201 Barrow Street #8 Anchorage, Alaska 99501 • 907.334.5853 • info@alaskapolicyforum.org

PB-0033 • March 22, 2010

 The new crime lab will be landscaped with 275 trees along with bushes and perennials costing over $500,000.  While not a building designed for the public, the picnic area for laboratory includes tables, benches, and trash receptacles costing over $30,000.  Alaska’s proposed new laboratory will be nearly 2 ½ times the cost of the Phoenix Police Department’s new laboratory. Phoenix is the fifth largest city in the United States.  The Grand Staircase in the proposed laboratory’s atrium contains 30 polished granite stair treads costing $900 each.  The total number of criminal cases submitted to the Alaska crime laboratory was about the same in 2009 as it was in 1994.  The number of DNA cases submitted to the Alaska crime laboratory has declined each of the past three fiscal years. The total for FY2009 was less than half of what was submitted in FY2006.  In the first six months of FY2010, Alaska’s DNA unit completed analyzing evidence from only three different property crimes.  In the April of 2005, Alaska’s DNA unit matched a DNA collected from five different Mat-Su Valley burglary scenes to a know felon.  Fewer fingerprint cases were submitted to the Alaska crime laboratory in 2009 than were submitted in 1998.  At 57,000 square feet, Iowa’s new state crime lab is 67% the size of the laboratory proposed for Alaska. The Iowa crime lab annually receives about 4 times the number criminal cases that are submitted to Alaska’s crime lab.  Iowa paid about $17 million for their new crime laboratory in 2005. Alaska has paid almost as much on consultants, blueprints, and site preparation (gravel).  Alaska’s proposed crime lab has 15,963 square feet of granite tile cladding costing $40/sf.
201 Barrow Street #8 Anchorage, Alaska 99501 • 907.334.5853 • info@alaskapolicyforum.org

PB-0033 • March 22, 2010

 FY2009 fingerprint evidence requests to the Alaska crime laboratory are down 25% when compared to FY2006.  Alaska will pay nearly as much for an unfinished crime lab as it cost to build the Los Angeles County Crime Laboratory. The new Los Angeles County Crime Laboratory annually receives over 40 times the number of criminal cases as does the Alaska crime lab.  The ornamental fencing and gate to screen the laboratory’s dumpster adds about $62,000 to the cost of the project.  During a 2008 House Finance Committee hearing on the new crime laboratory, one Representative stated that he thought a 400% increase in laboratory size was excessive. Another Representative calculated that the cost for the lab would be $2.5 million per employee, and he thought that amount sounded high. The Deputy Commissioner of Public Safety stated that he had the same concerns. Nonetheless, he assured the committee the numbers were sound because they came from “crime lab experts.”  These same “crime lab experts” initially foresaw a need for a 97,000 square feet laboratory costing up to $120 million for the project.  The massive new FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, with its 900 space parking garage, was built for $130 million.  The State of Alaska has spent more money for crime lab consultants (i.e. “crime lab experts”), blueprints, and site preparation than the combined costs of new crime laboratories for the Missouri Highway Patrol and the State of North Dakota. These facts were taken from a full analysis of the proposed state crime lab replacement project conducted by the Alaska Policy Forum. The 35 page study, as well as a summary briefing document is available on our website at www.alaskapolicyforum.org.

201 Barrow Street #8 Anchorage, Alaska 99501 • 907.334.5853 • info@alaskapolicyforum.org

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