State forensics lab planned for southeast Alabama
DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences plans to open a new state laboratory in southeast Alabama that will conduct testing to help combat opioids and other drugs in the region.
The Dothan Eagle reported that funding for the $5.3 million project in the Wiregrass region was included in the state operating budget passed by the Alabama House on Tuesday,
A state forensics laboratory located in Dothan closed more than a decade ago, and the agency plans to construct a new one that would make it easter and faster for law enforcement to have tests conducted. Police agencies now have to send evidence to a facility in Montgomery or Auburn for analysis.
“This region is underserved,” Dothan Police Chief Will Benny said. “Having a lab here saves time, manpower, and taxpayer dollars in this region.”
The department hopes to have a site and design finalized by the end of the summer and be ready and operation at the end of 2023 or early 2024, said Angelo Della Manna, director of the state agency. The department conducts testing for more than 450 accredited police agencies in the state.
The budget also included $6 million for a new crisis intervention center in Dothan that would provide authorities with a place where people with substance abuse issues or mental health issues can be admitted for diagnosis.