LA law enforcement celebrate state-of-the-art crime lab

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- When it comes to solving crimes and catching killers, it's often science that helps make the case for investigators.

On Monday, some of Los Angeles' top law enforcement leaders showed off the high-tech tools in L.A. County's crime lab for the 10th anniversary of the facility.

The Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center is the largest municipal crime lab in the nation and is a state-of-the-art CSI facility on the campus of Cal State LA. It's second in size only to the FBI crime lab in Quantico, and it's where science solves crimes.

Former Gov. Gray Davis and Sen. Bob Hertzberg got the funding to get it built, but when it first started, thousands of rape kits sat untested.

"We used to be ridiculed because prosecutors would lose all the big cases, such as O.J. Simpson and some others," Davis said.

L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer said it was unfair to victims.

"It was scandalous that there was such a huge backlog of those kits, and I think of all the victims whose rights weren't fully vindicated in a timely way. That was then, this is now," he said.

And now things are very different. The LAPD and L.A. County Sheriff's Department's crime labs are there. There are more investigators, and they have caught up testing all evidence and rape kits.

"That's a major priority for us to be able to ensure that the kits are examined, that we try and tie crimes together, identify suspects and make the arrest to be able to prevent additional crimes from occurring," said LASD Sheriff Jim McDonnell.

The facility also houses the Cal State L.A. School of Criminal Justice, where young students are learning to be criminologists of tomorrow.
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