The Omaha Police Department is ending its agreement with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office and is instead partnering with the University of Nebraska Medical Center for crime lab services.
The department will end its agreement with Douglas County in 90 days, it was announced at a press conference on Thursday.
Services at the crime lab include toxicology, urine, blood, drug and DNA testing.
One of the main reasons why this merger happened was the need for an independent crime lab and the use during court trials.
“It should be independent, it should be full-serviced and it should be accredited and that's what we will have at UNMC, which is what we did not have at Douglas County,” said Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert.
Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said Thursday that OPD was unhappy with the services it had been receiving for Douglas County, “One of our disappointments has been the time, the time lag to get our testing back”.
But Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning said his crime lab sits well with national standards, “Our turnaround time despite the comment by Chief Schmaderer is 14 days, 14.7 is our average and sometimes as low as 9.8 and that's right at par with industry standards.”
Despite the meger with OPD and UNMC, Dunning believes his crime lab is a better deal, “I still feel like the Douglas County crime lab offers a better less costly service.”
According to Schamderer, the City was paying $135,000 to work with Douglas County and he believes the price will be similar to work with UNMC.
Dunning points out The Douglas County Sheriff's Office Crime Lab will continue its relationship with the Omaha Fire Department in the examination of Fire Debris Evidence.