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Vancouver police open doors to new $45-million digs

The Province, Pacific Newspaper Group Inc., theprovince.com
BYLINE: SUSAN LAZARUK, The Province,
Link to Article

Vancouver, BC

2012-01-24_Vancouver police open doors to new 45-million digs_01
Property cutsodian Terry Zulynik looks over a confiscated weapon at the new Vancouver Police Property Office and Forensic Storage Facility on Jan. 24. The newly-opened $45 million facility was a collaborative effort between the city, provincial, and federal governments. Photograph by: Jenelle Schneider, PNG

Vancouver police now have four times the space to process and store the 425,000 pieces of evidence they’ve collected over decades of police work.

Tuesday saw the official opening of the new forensics and property storage building in East Vancouver.

The newly-built 87,000-square foot building on Glen Drive near VCC-Clark SkyTrain Station is “500 times better” than the old building at 312 Main St, says the building’s manager, Ian Wightman.

Vancouver police officially opened that building and a second building near Boundary Road, that will be home to investigation teams, including detectives, and administrative departments. That building used to house VANOC workers for the 2010 Winter Games.

The two cost three levels of government $45 million.

“These new facilities will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Vancouver police officers and civilians,” Vancouver police Chief Jim Chu told a ribbon-cutting ceremony. “It is very reassuring to see that all three levels of government recognize that public safety is a priority.”

The building adds an additional 65,000 square feet to the force’s facilities for processing and storing evidence, including rows of shelving marked “riot.”

Evidence for serious crimes such as homicides and sexual assaults, is kept for 99 years, said Wightman. The oldest piece dates back to a murder in 1926.

Other evidence, for relatively minor crimes that have been completed and illegal weapons, are destroyed monthly. Firearms, included seized ammunition, are dismantled and melted down for rebar, he said.

The building, subject to strict security controls, was opened to dignitaries and media for a tour on Tuesday. The walk through the facility including a spacious area for officers to tag and bag the evidence, stacks that hold pieces of evidence in brown envelopes, a refrigerated cooler and -30 degree freezer to store DNA, an evidence drying room, barrels full of seized illegal weapons and a bright, spacious garage to process vehicles as evidence. Its bays were big enough to fit a bus.

Const. Stephen Haras, wearing a hazmat bunny suit, demonstrated how he lifted prints off the window of a confiscated Honda Civic in a bright room of the garage.

“The facilities are a quantum leap” over what the officers had to work in before the new building was opened, said Wightman.

The facility includes an impressive three-storey conveyor belt to store 465 stolen bicycles that can be accessed within minutes. The VPD called it the largest rotating bike rack in Canada, which easily accommodated the seizure this month of 62 stolen bicycles taken from a suspected bike “chop shop” in a Downtown Eastside hotel.

The force’s offices at Cambie Street and 2nd Avenue will continued to be used by the patrol and traffic divisions,




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Some of the 465 stolen bikes on a state-of-the-art conveyor belt at the new Vancouver Police Property Office and Forensic Storage Facility on Tuesday, Jan. 24. The newly-opened $45 million facility was a collaborative effort between the city, provincial, and federal governments. Photograph by: Jenelle Schneider, PNG

 



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...The newly-opened ... facility was a collaborative effort between the city, provincial, and federal governments. (photo by Jenelle Schneider/PNG)(PNG story by Kim Pemberton)(PRV reporter Sue Lazaruk/TRAX: 00058804A) [PNG Merlin Archive] Photograph by: Jenelle Schneider, PNG

 
 
 
 
 
 


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