By Jason KUROSU
The Verdugo Regional Crime Lab, which is utilized by the Glendale and Burbank police departments, received a funding boost this month in the form of a $250,000 check from nonprofit Community Foundation of the Verdugos.
The lab was awarded the check at an event held on Wednesday, Nov. 4 attended by representatives from both police departments, the Community Foundation of the Verdugos and Congressman Adam Schiff’s office.
The money was raised as part of the CFV’s Glendale Burbank DNA Justice Project, an initiative started to prevent the delay of rape kit processing, as well as the backlog of other DNA evidence. Technology for analyzing DNA evidence was also paid for by the DNA Project initiative.
Congressman Schiff’s office originally secured funding for the lab in 2009 and the Glendale Police Dept. received $1 million for staffing the lab with forensic scientists and obtaining lab equipment. The foundation made an initial $50,000 donation toward the cause and raised $200,000 over the subsequent years.
According to Ernest P. Burger, board president of the Community Foundation of the Verdugos, the aim of the DNA Project was to upgrade the lab’s resources to the point where it could outsource its services to a multitude of law enforcement agencies and become self-sufficient.
“We are proud of the work that the Foundation’s staff and board did in working with our police departments to make this campaign a successful outreach into the community. The Community Foundation of the Verdugos puts the well-being of our community as its top priority and this is something everyone can celebrate,” said Burger.
The lab processed more than 400 DNA samples during its initial six months of operation beginning in January 2014, according to a Community Foundation of the Verdugos press release.