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Detroit, Wayne County officials protest State Police "about-face" on crime lab

Detroit and Wayne County officials say they feel like Michigan State Police have “stabbed them in the back."
That’s because State Police have backed off a plan to put a full-service crime lab in a former casino the city plans to turn into its new police headquarters.
But the state later decided that wasn’t the best use of money. They say Detroit Police need more help handling and submitting evidence. 
John Collins. director of the State Police forensic science division, says the state still plans to build an “investigative evidence and technology center.”
Collins says that will enhance the forensic services the State Police provides Detroit, whose own crime lab shut down in 2008.
“There will never again be the closure of a crime lab that was in operation for 80 years, and there will never again be a stockpile of 10,000 rape kits.”

But Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says that’s simply not true.
Worthy says the State police are trying to artificially reduce their evidence backlog by “picking and choosing” which services to provide.

“It is not their job to decide what they’re going to test and what they’re not going to test. It’s their job to test what law enforcement sends them to test. It’s not their job to make things go faster, and make their numbers go up by refusing to do the work they’re supposed to do.”

State Police have been processing Detroit’s forensic evidence since the city’s crime lab closed, after tests showed a high error rate in ballistics tests.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.