Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Police unveil new building for conducting forensic investigations on vehicles


Kansas City Police now have a high-tech, secure facility in which to process vehicles used in crimes for evidence.

Police celebrated the opening of the new building with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9. The Vehicle Processing Facility is located on the campus of the City’s new Vehicle Impound Facility. Media are invited to attend.

The Vehicle Processing Facility – or VPF – will provide a secure place for crime lab personnel to process vehicles for fingerprints, DNA and trace evidence like fibers and hairs.

“They get the full CSI treatment,” said Captain Jack Foster, KCPD Crime Lab commander.

One bay in the VPF is completely enclosed and dark so lab personnel can use Luminol to spot apparent blood stains. A scaled-down version of a crime lab is attached to the vehicle bays so investigators can use advanced finger-printing techniques and other chemical processes on site.

Captain Foster said the VPF has been sorely needed for many years. After an old fire station at 12th and Indiana got too run down for police to use some years ago, Crime Lab personnel have had to take vehicles with sensitive evidence to KCPD’s Fleet Operations building or sometimes to the police filling station at 1245 Prospect. The evidence vehicles would take up spaces in bays needed for police car repairs. After processing, those evidence cars would be left in an unsecured lot.

“Now we don’t have to worry about anyone tampering with the vehicles,” Captain Foster said.

Access to the VPF and its adjoining lot is largely restricted to Crime Lab personnel.

The $2.6 million building is 5,000 square feet and was designed to fit a semi truck and trailer inside. It features vehicle bays and lifts, a collapsible classroom, a small crime lab, offices and an adjoining lot to store evidence vehicles. The City of Kansas City paid to construct the building as part of its new Vehicle Impound Facility. The City is pursuing Silver LEED Certification for the facility’s environmental friendliness.

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