SLED Chief says State Needs New $54 Million Crime Lab
ROCK HILL, S.C. -- Each year, thousands of cases flow through South Carolina’s top law enforcement agency.
Chief of SLED, Mark Keel says the agency is now out of space to process evidence causing a delay in hundreds of case across the state. It’s something Solicitor Kevin Brackett has seen first hand.
“I’ve been down to the forensic lab in Columbia and they have filled that place to capacity, “said Brackett. “There’s just no room for growth.”
The issue now trickling down to the 16th judicial circuit in South Carolina which covers York and Union Counties. Solicitor Brackett says due to SLED’s inability to test evidence in a timely manner, cases are starting to pile up on his desk.
“We can’t move the case until we get the results back,” said Brackett. “What that means is people sit in jail longer which cost the public more money. Or maybe the person didn’t do the crime; I want those results back too.”
SLED says they need $54 million to build a new forensics lab which will fix the issue of space and cooling problems.
Lawmakers agree the state needs a new crime lab but can’t agree on how to pay for it.
Some lawmakers believe the money should be borrowed while others believe the funds should be found elsewhere in the budget. Meanwhile, Solicitor Brackett is hoping the issue gets fixed soon.
“However it gets done, it needs to get done."