Isanti County declines to join Tri-County Forensics Lab

By Mike Bleninger
Isanti County News

The Isanti County Board discussed forensic service providers during its April 5 meeting.

As part of the discussion, the commissioners considered joining the Tri County Regional Forensic Laboratory in Andover or staying with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for forensic services needed by law enforcement.

The Tri County Forensic Lab is currently serving Anoka, Sherburne and Wright counties. Its job, much like the BCA labs, is to test evidence for DNA in an effort to assist law enforcement. As part of their services, Tri County provides latent prints, drug chemistry and biology services.

Isanti County Board Chairman Terry Turnquist assured the residents of Isanti County the issue has been discussed at length.

“This has been quite a process,” he said. “A lot of time and energy has been put into this, and it is not an easy decision.”

Commissioner Mike Warring has been pleased with the progress he has seen with the BCA but said the county may not be fully prepared to go in a different direction.

“I would like to defer the decision until December, allowing the BCA to see if they can fulfill all of the promises that we have made,” he added. “I just think with the changes the BCA said they made, I want to see if they have made them or not.”

Commissioner Susan Morris agreed with Warring, adding she wants to make sure Isanti County Attorney Jeff Edblad and Isanti County Sheriff Chris Caulk have the proper amount of time to make the call.

“I want both Jeff and Chris to get a close handle on and make sure we are getting the services promised by the BCA,” she said. “I want an option so our citizens have the protection they deserve.”

The board unanimously agreed to table discussions on joining the Tri County labs

The commissioners said they will monitor the process of the BCA in the coming months and will make a final decision when they feel there is enough information.

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Rebecca Dian working on DNA analysis in the Tri-County Forensics Lab. Photos by Eric Hagen The Tri-County Forensics Lab, based in the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office in Andover, is a partnership between Anoka, Sherburne and Wright counties. Isanti County considered joining, but its county board decided to stick with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for now. Anthony Johnson is shown here reviewing a latent fingerprint. Amanda Caron in the drug chemistry analysis section of the Tri-County Forensic Lab.
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The Tri-County Forensics Lab, based in the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office in Andover, is a partnership between Anoka, Sherburne and Wright counties. Isanti County considered joining, but its county board decided to stick with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for now. Anthony Johnson is shown here reviewing a latent fingerprint.