As of July 1, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation Forensic Services is offering toxicology testing for alcohol and drug DUI cases. For many years the Colorado Department of Public Health conducted this service but officials believe toxicology is better suited in a forensic setting.
For the past 16 months, the Bureau's forensic services team has been working on the program's framework. Conducting forensic toxicology testing at the bureau will assist other law enforcement agencies to establish the program, in accordance with a state House bill signed into law by the governor last April.
The testing will take place at the Grand Junction Regional Office to start, and will expand to the Pueblo and Denver locales later on. An expected 10,000 toxicology samples per year will be processed.
"Because the analysis is used in a court room setting an in criminal cases our forensic scientists in a forensic laboratory are well trained to analyze and testify to those questions in a court room" said Janet Girten, the deputy director of forensic services.
Prosecutors believe it will make toxicology results more reliable. "We need to know we're going to get results, we're going to get them timely and we need the support in court," said District Attorney Dan Hotsenpiller of the 7th District.
Closer toxicology facilities will also streamline the court process - scientists will now only need to drive a short distance to testify.