State police plan new DNA lab in Hempfield |

State police plan new DNA lab in Hempfield

Jacob Tierney
Julia Brolley works at the forensic DNA scientist at the state police DNA lab in Greensburg, where criminal evidence and collected samples are processed into a state database. Submitted by Beth Ann Marne

State police are planning to build a 60,000-square-foot DNA lab in Hempfield.

The two-story building would be constructed on Willow Crossing Road, the same site as the state police Bureau of Forensic Services Greensburg Regional Laboratory. It would replace the existing facility on North Westmoreland Avenue, which serves as the statewide headquarters for the bureau’s Forensic DNA Division.

It’s still in the planning stages, according to state police spokesman Ryan Tarkowski.

The larger, more-modern building will allow police to hire more personnel, which should speed up DNA tests, according to Tarkowski.

Hempfield supervisors approved a site plan this week.

Although the new lab is expected to be done by December 2020, Tarkowski cautioned that plans are in the early stages and could change.

In February, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale called on state government to increase funding for DNA testing to clear a backlog of more than 1,200 untested rape kits. Gov. Tom Wolf responded by saying he had already more than doubled investment in the DNA Detection Fund to more than $6 million.

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter @Soolseem.

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