WPD has new equipment for speedier lab results

Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The Wilmington Police Department unveiled a new piece of equipment that will enable them to get faster results for some lab tests.

Wilmington City Council approved the police department's request for funding to purchase a Gas Chromatograph/Mass Sepctrometer, which will improve the level of lab services the department can conduct locally.

The WPD Crime Lab will now be able to perform blood alcohol testing, primarily for DWI cases, without having to send away for results.  The police department will be able to generate results within days instead of several months.

A new Justice Assistance Grant will provide funding for additional equipment to use in conjunction with the Gas Sepctrometer for drug analysis.

Local analysis of suspected marijuana is expected to being as early as November 2009.  The lab will be able to analyze almost all controlled substances, including prescription drugs, by the end of 2010.

Local analysis of drugs will accelerate turnaround time to 2-4 weeks, compared to several months for results on samples that are sent away.

According to the Wilmington Police Department, reducing the time for obtaining forensic results provides a service to the community and directly aids the justice system. Rapid results lead to speedier convictions for individual crimes, and in many instances will reduce the pre-trial time available for repeat offenders to commit additional offenses.

The Wilmington Police Department is the only local agency in southeastern North Carolina, and the second in the state, with the capacity to perform both blood alcohol analysis and forensic drug analysis equivalent to work performed by the SBI Crime Lab.

©2009 WECT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.