Mayor Karl Dean, joined by Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson and community members, held the grand opening of the city’s first full-service crime laboratory and the new Madison Police Precinct.
“Having our own crime lab will greatly enhance the investigative capabilities of our Police Department and help them solve crimes faster,” Mayor Dean said. “Our police force has worked hard to bring crime rates down, and, now, with the crime lab and Madison precinct opening, Nashville will become an even safer city.”
The program included the dedication of the facility as the Officer Paul Scurry Building. Scurry served the families and businesses of Madison and East Nashville for 21 years until he was fatally wounded while attempting to arrest a fugitive on May 17, 1996.
The 82,500-square-foot building at 400 Myatt Drive represents a $40 million investment in a state-of-the-art public safety facility with cutting edge technology. The 35,500-square-foot first floor houses the Madison Precinct, which began operations in temporary quarters next door on Jan. 1, 2012. Included on the first floor is a 5,840-square-foot community room that can be reserved for neighborhood and civic meetings.
The 47,000-square-foot second floor houses Nashville’s first full-service Crime Laboratory consisting of five primary disciplines: DNA/Serology, Drug Identification, Latent Print, Firearms and Tool Mark, and Toxicology.
“This state-of-the-art facility and the extremely dedicated persons who work here will play a very important role in enhancing Nashville’s public safety for decades to come,” Chief Anderson said. “The opening of this building signifies to all that Mayor Dean, Metro Council members, Nashville’s families and our officers share a partnership and unwavering commitment to the safety of neighborhoods throughout the city.”
The Officer Paul Scurry Building cost $40 million, including design, furniture and equipment. A total of 117 persons, including patrol officers, Flex officers, detectives and administrative staff will work out of the precinct. The crime lab will be staffed by 56 persons, including scientists, administrative personnel, evidence-receiving staff and fingerprint analysts.
Also present at the ceremony was Melanie Scurry West, daughter of Officer Paul Scurry. A bronze plaque honoring Officer Scurry is on the first floor lobby of the new building.
The number and complexity of tests varies considerably from case to case depending on the number of exhibits and the time required per test.
Crime Lab Support Units:
Evidence Receiving Unit – Receives all of the evidence for examination.
Administrative Unit – Includes Identification Division Capt. Karl Roller, Lt. Chris Blackwell, Quality Assurance Manager Ann Talbot, Business Manager Heather Watson, Administrative Assistants Jai Stevenson and Eolanda Reynolds.
Ten Print Unit – Supervisors: Lethia Lewis, Chad Norrick and Anya Bender.
Approximate monthly output: Fingerprint the public: 250; Expungement assistance: 1,440; Identification Queries from Fingerprints: 3,880
For the next several months, Nashville’s new crime laboratory will undergo rigorous testing in order to achieve international accreditation.
Accreditation is expected to occur in the second half of 2014, and the laboratory will begin work on active Nashville criminal cases after that. In the meantime, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which has provided expertise and guidance in the establishment of the new lab, will continue to provide scientific testing to Nashville’s officers and detectives. The exception is fingerprint analysis, which will continue to be done at the MNPD with the assistance of the department’s computerized Automated Fingerprint Identification System.
Construction is continuing on a new Central Precinct facility at Korean Veterans Blvd. and Sixth Avenue South and the new Midtown Hills Precinct building at 12th Avenue South and Wade Avenue. In December 2011, the city celebrated the opening of a new West Precinct facility, now known as the Chief Joe D. Casey Building, at 5500 Charlotte Pike.