The Arlington Heights village board last week agreed to change the crime lab where crime scene evidence is sent for processing. The Village of Arlington Heights agreed to a $104,042 one-year membership with the Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Laboratory (NIRCL) in Vernon Hills, replacing the previous arrangement with the Illinois State Police crime lab. The Arlington Heights Police Department will pay for the one-year membership using asset forfeiture funds, which are the result of property seizures.
The decision to change labs was chosen with the objective of improving turnaround times for submitted crime scene evidence. Police officials say the average examination time for fingerprints is 49 days at the Vernon Hills lab, compared to several months or longer at the Illinois State Police crime lab. Toxicology examinations at the Illinois Regional Crime Lab in Vernon Hills are less than three weeks.
The Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Lab uses the same evidence tracking software that is already used by the Arlington Heights Police Department.
NIRCL is a full-service forensic laboratory providing analysis in the following areas:
Currently NIRCL uses three crime databases:
Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) is a national database searching known and unknown fingerprints against national, state and local databases.
Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), which is a national database searching DNA profiles against national, state and local databases.
The Integrated Ballistic Imaging System (IBIS) is a national evidence database that searches fired crime evidence and seized firearms against national, state and local databases.
Staff at NIRCL, which numbers about 14, also provide training for police officers and provide informational presentations to the community, at large (police citizens academies, civic organizations).
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