The Legislatures LR 601 Special Committee announced the findings of their report on a study that focused on the need for a regional, accredited forensic crime lab. Committee Chairman, Omaha Senator Robert Hilkemann the study was to determine the needs for developing a lab and examine the feasibility of the state’s involvement.
Senator Hilkemann says, “The question came in does the state have an obligation to be part of this. That came in late in the session and was approved. We met in early June and held hearings at UNMC. What UNMC is basically proposing and the Omaha Police Department is very much behind it as well as the city of Omaha, they want to have a completely independent of any law enforcement agency, a fully accredited and full service crime lab.”
The committee bases its recommendation on the conclusion that building a lab at the UNMC campus meets the three primary ideals for a forensic crime lab – independence, full array of services in a single location and accreditation. It would also take advantage of the partnerships with the Nebraska Organ recovery System, the Lion’s Eye Bank, the Douglas County Coroner’s Office and other important services.
The committee also recognizes that putting UNMC and the state of Nebraska at the cutting edge of forensic training in the nation is among the advantages of having a state-of-the-art forensic lab. Senator Hilkemann says there is a real need for more forensic pathologists and this would help UNMC in their training process. UNMC is also reaching out to go to higher levels. This would be a wonderful program to work with and we could be a leader in forensic medicine down the line.
The report recommended that the Legislature encourage all interested parties to work out differences so that a regional forensic crime lab can be built at the UNMC campus.