Sault Ste. Marie forensic identification unit opens
The new Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) forensic identification services unit in Sault Ste. Marie will give the police advanced tools to collect and analyze evidence and solve crimes, in an environment that protects front-line personnel.
The Sault Ste. Marie unit is part of the Ontario government's $50-million investment to replace or upgrade facilities for front-line police officers to reflect new technological requirements, increased standards and keep pace with the demands of the justice sector.
OPP forensic identification services units are responsible for crime scene management, for evidence processing in support of the investigation and prosecution of crime, and for the integrity and continuity of evidence from the time it is collected to the time it is presented in court. Gathering, transporting, examining and storing evidence is becoming increasingly complex.
As a result of modern technology, legislation and operational changes, some OPP forensic identification facilities are reaching the end of their useful lifespan and can no longer fully meet the OPP's needs.
The new Sault Ste. Marie unit replaces an existing facility in the basement level of a multi-purpose building with a stand-alone, 12,000-square-foot building containing state-of-the-art evidence processing rooms, equipment and administration facilities.
The building will house many of the latest technologies now available to apprehend and convict offenders. It is built to Containment Level II building standards with Containment Level III HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and includes three biohazard suites, with one designed to have a biohazard/chemical room and a second containing a room for blood splatter examination. The facility also includes a vehicle examination garage bay complete with hoist and specialized perimeter lighting.
There are currently 14 OPP forensic identification services units located throughout Ontario, and one forensic identification support services unit located in Orillia. In addition to Sault Ste. Marie, forensic identification services units have been or are being upgraded in Belleville, Orillia, Tillsonburg and Thunder Bay.