MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – The Montgomery County Coroner’s office entered a contract with Indiana State Police to test for drugs at their crime lab.
This week, the crime lab was awarded $600,000 for the contract and Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger said they are glad they are able to provide this service across state lines.
“They were looking for more capacity, instead of ramping up with more equipment and staffing, we were able to reach this agreement even though we’re crossing state boundaries, other jurisdictional boundaries,” said Harshbarger.
Harshbarger said they currently serve about 70 jurisdictions, but he doesn’t believe this new partnership with Indiana State Police will impact their current work load.
“We believe we have enough efficiencies, we’ve added some staff so that we shouldn’t have a delay to our members, that is our priority taking care of our member agencies,” said Harshbarger.
He said with the funds from the contract, they were able to hire two new spots to help with the added work load.
Indiana has four regional crime labs but First Sgt. Ron Galaviz of ISP said they needed more help.
“Over the last few years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of drug cases that have come into our lab system,” said Galaviz. “In order to maintain an efficient turnaround process to get these cases to prosecution, the labs we have are currently working at full capacity.”
They’re still working out the specifics but Harshbarger expects most of the product to come from eastern Indiana as there is a 120-mile radius provision in the contract but said it’s possible it could come from the entire state.
Sgt. Galaviz said it won’t be forever, but it will help as they continue their fight of keeping drugs off the street.
“There are plans in place down the road for new and updated facilities to increase the capacity that we’ll be able to handle, so this will help bridge that gap in the interim,” said Galaviz.
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