Federal Money Will Help Honolulu Police Expand Crime Lab

Neil Abercrombie
Neil Abercrombie

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Analyzing evidence and collecting DNA samples from convicted felons. That's just some of the work going on at the Honolulu Police Department's crime lab.

Now, federal money will help expand the heavily-used facility.

Wayne Kimoto does a show-and-tell at the Honolulu Police Department's forensic laboratory.

"Our trace evidence examination unit," the acting lab director announced during the tour.

He takes Congressman Neil Abercrombie on a tour to show how important the federal funding is.

"They also document the crime scene, be it with photography or through diagrams," Kimoto explained to his visitor.

Lab officials say TV shows, like CSI, give the public an unrealistic view of what criminalists can do.

"Everybody thinks that the forensic lab operates in 44 minutes plus commercials," Abercrombie (D) said.

The truth is tests for a criminal case can take weeks, even months, to complete.

"Backlogs are a concern for all laboratories across the nation," Kimoto said. "The Honolulu Police Department laboratory is no different."

But here comes some help. The lab is expecting to receive $250,000 in federal funds, which would be used for new equipment and staff training.

"It's not just a Hawaii lab," Abercrombie said. "(It's important) that this Pacific forensic lab be capable of working with the federal government and international authorities, particularly when it comes to the drug trade, when it comes to crimes that may have been committed on the mainland, people escaping from here and to here. So this lab is crucial."

Abercrombie says he hopes the lab will receive the funding by October.