Carnahan visits site of future crime laboratory

Saturday, January 19, 2002

In a dusty warehouse that planners envision housing the new Southeast Missouri Crime Lab, Sen. Jean Carnahan, D-Mo., spoke about her efforts to bring federal money to the fight against methamphetamine.

Carnahan spoke to news media, law enforcement officials and university personnel Friday morning about $220 000 set aside for Southeast Missouri through her Missouri Drug Eradication Initiative.

The bill, passed by the Senate in October, was recently signed into law.

Through the initiative, $110,000 is slated for the Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force.

The other $110,000 will go to the Southeast Missouri Crime Lab, scheduled to move this year from cramped quarters on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University to its new location on the corner of South Ellis and Merriwether.

"I am pleased that I was able to secure greater funding for our meth task forces in Missouri," she said. "Even as we fight and win the war on terrorism, we cannot abandon the war on drugs."

Carnahan, who recently visited with U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, said one of them told her, "'We know why we're here and we're going to stay until we get the job done.''

She said the same attitude is evident in police officers.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Kevin Glaser thanked Carnahan for securing the funds.

"It's a tremendous shot in the arm," particularly during such a tough financial time for the state, he said.

Glaser said the money will be used to help keep officers out in the field.

Dr. Robert Briner, director of the crime lab, also thanked the senator.

The university is renovating a warehouse that was once the John Cobb School. Briner said he hopes to move the crime lab by the end of this year.

"I have to pinch myself to see if it's going to really happen," he said.

He said the $1.5 million renovation project is the result of a bipartisan effort.

Of the funds, $810,000 is from the federal government, secured by Carnahan, Sen. Kit Bond and U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson. Other funds have come through the university, the state and private donations.

abuchanan@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 160

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