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Jonesboro police get new investigation equipment

Photo By Mehgaan Jones
Jonesboro Police Chief Winston Allen (right) and Lt. Andrew Hammond display the Crime Investigation Division's new equipment.

Photo By Mehgaan Jones Jonesboro Police Chief Winston Allen (right) and Lt. Andrew Hammond display the Crime Investigation Division's new equipment.

By Mehgaan Jones

mjones@news-daily.com

The Jonesboro Police Department has purchased new crime-investigation equipment, to provide a more efficient, and thorough way of obtaining evidence, according to Jonesboro Police Chief Winston Allen.

"The criminal investigation division was lacking the necessary basic equipment to process crime scenes, and collect and recover evidence," said Allen.

The chief said that, in order to provide the best service, the department purchased basic equipment, which includes fingerprint kits, a crime-scene collection kit -- which will aid in the recovery and preservation of evidence -- and a camera, to take pictures of crime scenes. All of the supplies arrived in the last couple of days, he said.

Prior to the arrival of the new equipment, the department had a simple finger-printing kit, with just one type of powder, according to Allen.

"Now, we have a more advanced kit, with different variations of lifting powder." He added that the officers had a less-expensive, digital camera before, but now they have a better-quality camera, which will provide better photographs. The department also purchased a crime-scene collection kit, which Allen said they did not have before.

"This is extremely important as part of the core function of a police department," said Allen, who recently took the helm as the department's chief.

Lt. Andrew Hammond, a crime scene investigator for the department, explained that the biggest issue affecting investigations was the need to rely on other sources, such as the Clayton County Police Department and the GBI, to handle basic crime-investigation functions.

"It[ the equipment] enhances the capabilities of the police department, and provides us one step closer to being self-sufficient," added Allen. He said that more-extensive crime investigations will still be handled by Clayton County Police, or the GBI.

The new investigation equipment was bought for around $800, said Allen. It equipment was purchased through seized funds and budget line-item funds, the chief said. Seized funds would include confiscated funds from criminals, such as drug dealers. The budget line-item funds is money that is part of the annual budget for the police department, said Allen.

Jonesboro's two crime investigators are Hammond and Lt. Wayne Woods. Both are already trained in using the new equipment, said Allen. "If a crime happens today, the equipment is ready to go."

In the future, Allen said, as the department grows, he would like to add more advanced and specialized investigation equipment. "We are only using this as a building block in the beginning. As time goes on, we will continue to add," he said.