The Omaha Police and Douglas County Sheriff’s Departments will share some crime lab services starting in January.
The two departments have been negotiating an agreement for more than a year. It was announced Wednesday. OPD’s crime lab will handle ballistics testing for both agencies. A new Electronic Forensic Analysis Squad will test computers, cell phones, and other devices for both departments. The Sheriff’s Department, in turn, will handle controlled substance, blood alcohol, and trace evidence analysis.
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer says the agreement enhances the services provided by both departments.
"I am especially looking forward to the formation of the Electronic Forensic Analysis Squad. In this day and age of cell phones and computers, the examination of these devices for violent crimes, property crimes, and white collar crimes is essential. The speed and expertise when uncovering technology evidence will serve our investigators well."
The Sheriff’s Department will hire two new chemists as part of the agreement, with the $135,000 dollar cost paid by OPD. A sworn officer will also be assigned to OPD’s electronics analysis squad. Staffing levels at both crime labs will remain the same.
The agreement needs approval from the Douglas County Board and Omaha City Council.