KRISTA: Hamilton County crime lab is in dire straits



Why Does Hamilton County Need a Crime Lab?

Hamilton County is a unique place. It is big enough to have a thriving downtown, and professional sporting teams yet small enough to ask each other, “What parish are you from?” or “What school (High School) did you go to?”  We are a wonderful mix of conservative homemakers and jet-setting liberals. We enjoy high end arts, entertainment, and restaurants, as well as parades, parish festivals, and mom & pop pubs. But what we all share in common is love of family, love of food, love of our sports teams and love of this city.

Back in the 1960’s Dr. Frank Cleveland (Coroner), a world-renowned pathologist and family man saw the need for a local crime laboratory. One that could use the latest techniques in science to help the local police and fire agencies fight crime in a more effective and expedient way. Over the years this laboratory has grown in its own worldly status, but more importantly has become an integral part of solving crimes in our county. The crime lab has developed an excellent rapport with local police and fire investigators so that at any time they can call an analyst and get advice or immediate work on an important case. The Hamilton County crime lab has instructed countless officers, students, and attorneys in correct handling of evidence and the latest scientific techniques.

In this modern era almost every criminal case presented in court has a laboratory report attached to it. The prosecutors as well as defense attorneys use the scientific results generated and the knowledge of scientists to present their case for guilt or innocence. In many cases this helps the prosecutor and police keep our streets safer, and in some cases it helps find justice for the innocent.

A large state-wide laboratory system is necessary for those less populated  areas where it would be impractical for them to have their own local crime lab. But history has shown that the state crime laboratory system is at the whim of the politicians in power at any particular time. Sometimes it is considered important and is given what it needs to flourish, but at other times its needs are put on the back burner and problems ensue.  In either case it is a big organization that cannot give individual attention to local agencies. Afterall, it is expected to serve all 88 counties in Ohio equally.

Like anything worthwhile, the more effort that is put into it, the more gain comes out of it.  For a crime lab the better the equipment and people, the better the results. Stories of rogue scientists and crime lab problems can be found in the national news and usually stem from lack of support to be able to perform the work required with integrity and accuracy.

A local crime lab is filled with scientists who are local and know and care about their own neighborhoods. A local crime lab works hand-in-hand with the local agencies and attorneys in training, conversing, planning, and solving crime related issues.

Current television shows paint a forensic crime laboratory as a neat, interesting, and even sexy thing to have. Every day we have to turn down requests for public tours for many reasons but mainly to maintain the  security and integrity of the evidence. But here is the heart of the matter – Forensic Science is the closest man-made entity to the truth. Fortunately many of us go through life without really thinking about the need for a great forensic lab because crime has not seeped into our lives. But if you are a victim of a crime, you want the best scientist in the best laboratory working to find the criminals to be sure their justice is served. And if you are falsely accused of a crime you want the best scientist in the best laboratory working to prove your innocence.

The Hamilton County Coroner’s Crime Laboratory is made up of some of the smartest local residents, brilliant scientists with the highest integrity who daily continue to strive to ensure that you, our neighbors, can count on the truth to set you free.

 Michael A. Trimpe                                                                                                                  Crime Laboratory Director

Welcome to the Crime Lab

Welcome to the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office Crime Laboratory blog. We are here to service all law enforcement in Hamilton County and beyond. We are also here as a service to you the Hamilton County taxpayer. If you have any questions about the crime lab or its operation please feel free to ask. Of course we can’t give out case information, but we can help you understand the “real CSI” in Cincinnati.

Michael A. Trimpe
Laboratory Director