KSP honors lab staff during National Forensic Science Week
National Forensic Science Week is Sept. 20-26, which is a time to recognize the importance of forensic science in law enforcement and the hard work that lab staff does on a daily basis. National Forensic Science Week also provides an opportunity for the community to learn more about the inner workings of a crime lab and the vital role it plays in our criminal justice system.
Kentucky State Police employs 154 lab employees at six labs across the state and a digital forensic lab in the Electronic Crimes Branch. The labs receive pieces of evidence from every law enforcement agency in the commonwealth.
In 2019, forensic scientists completed 44,671 cases.
Last year, forensic scientists conducted the most tests on seized drugs, which resulted in 27,640 completed cases. In addition to seized drug tests, forensic scientists handle toxicology tests, blood alcohol tests, DNA analysis, firearm tests and trace chemistry.
“We are the forensic laboratory of Kentucky. It’s stressful, but we are accredited, we have great people and we put out reliable test results,” said KSP Lab Director Laura Sudkamp. “We’re excited to support law enforcement investigations and help solve crimes.”
One of the most notable successes of the KSP Forensics Laboratories is the rapid DNA system for sexual assault investigations. Kentucky is the first in the nation to adopt this technique.
The KSP Forensics Lab piloted the ANDE Rapid DNA system and it was proven successful at identifying suspects within hours, dramatically decreasing the turnaround time compared to traditional approaches. KSP Forensic Labs are scheduled to roll out the program in its entirety in October 2020.
KSP Lt. Col. Larry Newton, who oversees the agency’s statewide forensic operations, understands that when citizens think of law-enforcement their first image may be a police cruiser or the uniform.
“In policing, much of the very important work is done behind the scenes and is all too often not easily recognized,” Newton said. “The Kentucky State Police is lucky to have such dedicated staff filling our forensic laboratories. In addition to our agency, they assist all police agencies across Kentucky in identifying suspects and exonerating the innocent through science and technology.”
During National Forensic Science Week, KSP plans to highlight the great work of all the forensic scientists across the state by highlighting stories of their great work and sharing photos about their efforts on the KSP Facebook and Instagram platforms.
“It’s a big deal for us to be recognized for the work that we do. It’s rewarding to have a week dedicated to the job we are all so proud to do,” said Sudkamp.
KSP is seeking to fill full-time positions at the six various Forensic Laboratories across the commonwealth for science-minded, service-oriented people. If you are interested in a career, you may apply at https://careers.ky.gov or contact 502-564-5230 for more information.
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