Engineers Ensure Forensics Facility’s Safety
By Army Staff Sgt. April Mota
Special to American Forces Press Service
BAGHDAD, Jan. 12, 2010 Six soldiers added finishing touches to the new Joint Expeditionary Forensics Facility on Victory Base Complex here Jan. 7.
Army Spc. Ryan Hedburg carries equipment into the Joint Expeditionary Forensics Facility on Victory Base Complex in Baghdad, Jan. 7, 2010. Soldiers from the 101st Engineer Battalion installed window cages and evidence-room cabinets, and built a countertop for the facility’s lobby. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. April Mota
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Military police, Iraqi lab examiners and civilian contractors will run the facility.
The soldiers, from the 317th Engineer Company and 101st Engineer Battalion, added security screens to cover the windows, built evidence-room security cages and added a counter for the lobby.
The forensics facility will be used to process DNA and ballistic evidence and latent fingerprints and will be an integral part of the Iraqi judicial system, officials said.
Army Capt. Victor Chavez of Riverside Calif., assigned to 393rd Military Police Battalion, is the officer in charge of the building. He aims to open the facility by mid-February. But before it can open, it must meet standards that ensure evidence is maintained safely and properly.
“To meet safety and security codes, the evidence rooms must have secure cages to hold the evidence,” Chavez explained. “The windows must have bars preventing entrance to the building through the windows. These are key security aspects needed in this type of facility.”
Once open, the Joint Expeditionary Forensics Facility will be the only one of its kind, Chavez said.
(Army Staff Sgt. April Mota serves in U.S. Division Center with the 101st Engineer Battalion, 16th Engineer Brigade.)