State Police Crime Lab Future Unclear

The U.P.’s only State Police crime lab just moved into a long-awaited new home this summer.

But now the forensic lab’s long-term future is once again up in the air.

The State Police recently asked the U.S. Justice Department for an $8 million dollar grant coming from the stimulus bill.

The money would have paid for a brand-new lab in Negaunee Township, right next door to the Negaunee Post.

But lab staff have just found out they’re not getting the grant.

Just 2 months ago, the Marquette lab moved from Spring Street downtown to an old U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service building off of Wright Street.

The state’s budget uncertainty clouds the lab’s future.

Det. Sgt. Eric Bannan is a polygraph technician at the lab and is serving as acting director while the lab director is in Lansing on business.

He says that with the temporary state budget, the State Police is in the same boat as other state government departments in only having enough funding to last through this month.

Sgt. Bannan says the goal now is to stay where they are.

The State Police had a lot of competition for the money.

The Justice Department got more than 1,700 applications for the stimulus grants.

Only about 250 got any money, so that’s less than 1 in 6.