Horry County looks to create local forensics lab

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) If Horry County police want to process evidence from a crime committed in Horry County, they have to send it three hours away to a lab in Columbia for testing. The problem is the wait time for those results to come back.

"Well they're all priorities to us," said Lieutenant J.M. De Bari with Horry County Police. "And that's why they're sent up there for testing, but with the backlog throughout the state, you're looking at up to a year sometimes on cases."

That means after police have removed the yellow tape and collected the evidence from a crime, like a burglary in your home, you might have to wait a year before police have what they need to figure out who committed the crime.

This slows down investigations into all kinds of crimes that affect you and your family. The biggest reason is because state law enforcement division is swamped with cases right now.

When it comes to processing those crucial samples, local officials say it's time to figure out another way. They're looking into speeding up the process by bringing a lab to Horry County so police can get what they need to identify and take criminals off the streets faster.

"Today there will be some discussions by the public safety director to go over some potentials," said Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier. "Just some options that maybe he has some actual concepts to discuss with council to see if there's something he can actually do and potentially do some partnering here in Horry County."

The challenge will be getting the money and the resources to make this happen. There are talks to partner with Horry Georgetown Technical College, which has it's own forensics lab for students.

Officials plan to discuss the forensics lab in depth Thursday evening at a Public Safety Committee meeting. The meeting starts at 5 p.m. at the Horry County Government and Justice Center.

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