The previous building where Berkeley County Deputies stored evidence reeked of marijuana and was packed to the ceiling. Guns of all sizes had to be piled up and stacked like cordwood. A new building for investigators and the evidence they bring in was long overdue.
On Jan. 11, the ribbon was officially cut, now the doors are set to open at the new Forensic Services building in Moncks Corner.
Deputies in Berkeley County bring in over 1,000 pieces of evidence a month. Items such as guns, drugs, cars, clothing and fingerprints all have to be processed and stored, possibly for years.
“We’ve just been behind and this is really a big deal for us to be able to have a facility like this where we can really do the things we’ve got to do,” said Sheriff Duane Lewis during a tour with the media.
The old building near the courthouse and detention center off of California Avenue in Moncks Corner has less than 2,000- square-feet of working space. The new building offers 6,850-square-feet and includes a bright and clean space to investigate vehicles from top to bottom.
“It’s better than what we had because we had nothing,” Lewis said. “We’ll be able to lift the vehicles look underneath and collect whatever evidence. It has taken the technicians and crime scene people out of the elements and it’s taken the item, the vehicle whatever we may have—it’s taken it out of the elements.”
The new building sits behind the sheriff’s office on North Live Oak Drive and could not have come soon enough. As the population continues to grow across the county, there’s more crime and more evidence. Recognizing the need, Berkeley County Council approved the $1.2 million needed for the project which was completed in 8-months.
“It’s going to allow the public to come here; we have sensitive cases and we need to talk about the evidence, show them some of the evidence,” said Lewis. “The solicitor’s office now has an opportunity to come and examine evidence that we display before we go to court.”
Lewis said deputies will start bringing evidence into the new building in about three weeks.