Orangeburg forensic lab expands law enforcement capability thanks to local partnership
ORANGEBURG, SC (WOLO) — A new resource to help law enforcement solve crimes has opened in Orangeburg County.
The City of Orangeburg along with Claflin University celebrated the ribbon cutting Monday afternoon for a newly accredited forensic lab.
“This is about the City of Orangeburg and Claflin University partnering in pursuit of justice,” said Sidney Evering, Orangeburg city administrator.
A forensic lab in Orangeburg has been made possible by a partnership between the city and Claflin University. It allows law enforcement to process important pieces of evidence such as DNA, fingerprints and narcotics.
“No other such partnership exists in South Carolina that has improved the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system and also improved a community’s quality of life,” said Mayor Michael Butler of the City of Orangeburg.
“We’re excited to see that the lab is fully accredited. It provides an opportunity for our students to have real life opportunities,” said Dr. Dwaun Warmack, Claflin University president. “Our criminal justice and biotechnology majors are able to do research. This is a historic partnership that can be a model across the country.”
A reliable forensic lab in Orangeburg reduces the workload on the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
“Much of the work that we have done in the past had to be sent to SLED for their assistance,” said Chief Charles Austin, Orangeburg public safety director.
It also allows Orangeburg to help out surrounding law enforcement operations.
“We are looking forward to regionalizing the operation,” Austin said. “We will be able to provide services for municipalities and agencies throughout the Bamberg, Barnwell and Calhoun County area.”
Orangeburg law enforcement is currently identifying open cases that could be revisited by using the resources of the forensic lab.
“A forensic lab is not only an integral part of helping prosecute the guilty but can also be used for helping free the innocent,” Evering said.