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State officials celebrate opening of new Indiana State Police Lowell Post and Regional Lab

Michael Gallenberger
Lakeshore Public Media

Indiana State Police hope the new Lowell Post and Regional Laboratory will speed up investigations and cut through case backlogs. Governor Eric Holcomb and State Police Superintendent Doug Carter cut the ribbon on the new, 40,000-square-foot facility Tuesday.

Carter said there's no room to add more scientists at the old lab, and that's putting pressure on current employees. "Our DNA backlog is manageable. The drug backlog is not, right now," Carter told reporters.

He said that backlog now stands at about 8,000 cases, and the state is currently outsourcing cases for about $1.3 million a year.

The Lowell lab serves law enforcement agencies in 15 counties. Lab commander Major Sid Newton said the new facility has enough capacity to serve the region for several decades.

"The work the laboratory staff does is critical in aiding law enforcement with investigations," Newton said.

Governor Holcomb said the state's growing economy is allowing it to invest in facilities and infrastructure that haven't had upgrades in decades — like the new Westville Correctional Facility and the South Shore Line Double Track project. "Finally, we're at a day to where we are expressing as a state what our true priorities are, and I think that's why our state is growing, despite some neighboring states' outcomes," Holcomb said.

The new facility was paid for in cash with money allocated by the General Assembly, without the need for debt financing.

But there have been some challenges. Superintendent Carter says $30 million was initially allocated for three posts. They ended up costing about $30 million each.

A similar facility recently opened in Fort Wayne, and another one is under construction in Evansville. The old Lowell Post building will continue to be used for storage and additional office space.

Michael Gallenberger is a news reporter and producer that hosts All Things Considered on 89.1 FM | Lakeshore Public Media.