Attorney General Proposes to Close Crime Lab

By: Sabrina Wu
By: Sabrina Wu

The state is looking for ways to cut costs. The state's attorney general says one way to save money could be to close the state crime lab in Wausau.

"It could mean the difference between solving a case or not solving it," said Capt. Scott Sleeter, with the special investigations unit at Everest Metro police department.

Sleeter says proper handling of evidence is crucial to any investigation. That's why law enforcement in Northern Wisconsin relies heavily on the crime lab in Wausau.

"That's a huge service to people in the Northern half of this state," Sleeter said. "Before they even opened a crime lab, local law enforcement voiced such a strong opinion about how we needed a crime lab in the Northern half of the state."

If the office in Wausau closes, all evidence collected at crime scenes would be sent down to Madison and Milwaukee to be analyzed. Sleeter says he fears that would mean a long wait for evidence to come back.

"Madison and Milwaukee are swamped," said Sleeter, "then to put the other Northern half of the state back onto their shoulders, you're going to have a terrible turnaround."

Sleeter says the crime lab offers expertise that many sheriff's and police departments don't have.

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