The Division of State Fire Marshal’s Forensic Laboratory will receive a $250,000 grant for new forensic computers with more processing power for digital evidence to help reduce turnaround time and eliminate digital evidence backlogs. 

The grant is being awarded as part of Governor DeWine’s Ohio Crime Lab Efficiency Program.

State Fire Marshal Kevin Reardon values these new equipment additions. “Investing in our forensic science equipment is critical to public safety,” he said. “These high-tech additions will allow our scientists, lab professionals and forensic specialists to more efficiently discover evidence that solves crimes and brings justice to victims.”

In 1973, Ohio became the first state in the nation to develop a forensic laboratory specializing in fire and explosive evidence.

The Division of State Fire Marshal Forensic Laboratory provides specialized investigative and training services to fire departments and law enforcement agencies across Ohio. Its team of scientists and fire specialists at the Forensic Laboratory conduct scientific examinations of ignitable liquids, fire debris, explosives, latent prints and video and audio evidence.

Chad Wissinger, Forensic Lab Bureau Chief is excited to add new cutting-edge technology to the lab’s capabilities. “This grant adds modern forensic workstations that can be networked with current extraction computers and digital evidence stored on servers,” he said. “We will also install new field pole cameras that serve as a deterrent to fires being actively set at locations deemed high risk. Additional improvements, software and training will further increase the efficiency of evidence retrieval and processing, ultimately leading to quicker turnaround times and lower backlogs.”

As part of the Ohio Crime Lab Efficiency Program, Ohio’s 14 certified crime laboratories will receive millions in grant dollars to reduce and eliminate backlogs, increase overall lab efficiency, and decrease evidence processing time. The grants are funded with American Rescue Plan Act funds dedicated by Gov. DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly to state and local first-responder agencies to counter increases in violent crime and to mitigate impacts on staffing levels and first-responder wellness caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

See additional details on the forensic lab capabilities at the State Fire Marshal’s website: com.ohio.gov/fire.