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CSIs gather in Forsyth
Conference follows decision on new lab
csi training 3 jd
Deputy Lisa Mataban practices taking a mold of a bite. - photo by Jim Dean
Days after getting some encouraging news about a much-needed facility, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Crime Scene Investigation unit held a training session for colleagues from across Georgia.

Katrina Murdock, the unit’s supervisor, said the one-day training session Friday at the Forsyth County Public Safety Complex was for the state division of the International Association for Identification.

“It’s a professional organization,” she said. “We get together twice a year for a one-day conference and this is how we get our training.”

She said members also attend a weeklong session in the fall.

While the Settingdown Road training center came in handy for Friday’s conference, the local CSI unit still must examine evidence without its crime lab.

The facility that Murdock and her co-workers were using was vacated earlier this year, along with other sheriff’s buildings, after employee reports of an illness reportedly brought on by the decrepit conditions of the buildings.

The other departments affected by the move have since relocated to an office building on 475 Tribble Gap Road, north of downtown Cumming.

The county commission voted last week to begin accepting bids on a new CSI lab.

The county has estimated the new structure will cost between $60,000 to $75,000 to build the facility, including septic hook-up.

Murdock was hesitant to comment about the decision.

“We haven’t seen what’s going to be in the build-out,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s going to be a warehouse, like our car lab, or if they’re going to finish it out.

"We haven’t been provided with any of those details other than it’s going to be a permanent structure not a mobile trailer.”

Until a new lab is built, the CSI team will continue shuffling evidence between offices in downtown Cumming and the unit’s vehicle lab next to the sheriff’s north precinct off Keith Bridge Road.

The vehicle lab is about the size of a small storage space. It is not climate controlled and there are no bathrooms.

Officials have publicly worried that the current situation could hamper the ability to process evidence and, in turn, begin to affect court cases.

Friday's conference covered a variety of topics, including footwear and bite mark collection and documentation, as well as safety precautions when investigating a chemical-related suicide.

“We just took a turn to host it here because have a good facility at our training center here and we’ve never hosted it before,” Murdock said. “We had a tremendous turnout today.”

She said the conference drew representatives from various agencies, including the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Army and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

E-mail Julie Arrington at