Delays in processing evidence of weeks to years at the state police crime lab have led Evanston officials to plan to spend money to have evidence processed elsewhere.

Police Chief Richard Eddington says the state has cut the number of regional crime labs in Illinois from three to one — creating massibe backlogs, with the City of Chicago and over 100 suburban agencies submitting cases to the lab each week.

So Eddington will ask aldermen tonight to have the city join the Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Laboratory, which already serves 44 other police agencies in the region.

Eddington said that the NIRCL lab has processed over 4,000 cases this year with an average turnaround time of 28 hours.

The cost of NIRCL membership is based on a community’s population and is expected to cost Evanston just over $100,000 a year.

Update 10:30 a.m. 7/15/14: The City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve having Evanston joining the regional crime lab.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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