How to Help Your State and Local Crime Labs
It’s so easy to make a difference! Here are three simple and important steps you can take:
1) Make three phone calls or send three e-mails.
E-mail or call your two Senators and your Congressional representative in the House to tell them that it is important to you that Coverdell receives more funding. (Because of anti-anthrax measures, letters are delayed and do not always reach Congress.) If you don’t know who your representatives are, you can usually find their offices listed in the government section of your phone book, or visit www.house.gov for the House of Representatives and www.senate.gov for your two Senators.
Don’t be afraid to call or e-mail your Senators and Representative!
They work for you, they’re spending your taxes – let them know that crime labs are important to you!
Here’s a sample you can use for e-mailing or to help you with a call:
Dear [Title -- "Senator" or if a representative, "Mr." "Mrs." or "Ms."] [Last Name of the Member of Congress]
Please support funding of the Paul Coverdell National Forensic Sciences Act at the full authorized level. Continued funding of the Coverdell Act is urgently needed by crime labs, which handle 90% of all criminal cases in the United States.
Funding Coverdell will make a critical difference in the forensic sciences in the U.S., and support the processing of every type of evidence. Medical examiners offices are closing down due to the lack of funds. Backlogs are slowing justice and putting the public at risk. The National Academy of Sciences 2009 study indicates that many public forensic science providers, such as lab and medical examiners/coroners offices, are severely understaffed, working in outdated or inadequate facilities, and lacking the equipment they need.
As a result, victims and their families wait months or years for lab results, cases are lost or not brought to trial, evidence is mishandled, and criminals remain at large. These problems ultimately affect the welfare and safety of the entire country, including homeland security. Funding of the Coverdell Act should be a high priority.
City, State, ZIP
Please note that it is not enough to just put your name and e-mail address on the message — the member of Congress will respond better to a message with a complete address, especially if you live in his or her district or state.
Please let us know whom you contacted and when by contact us by emailing crimelabproject @ gmail.com (delete the spaces in this address before you use it), so that we can follow up with your representatives.
2) Tell everyone else you know about this site, or pass along an e-mail message about the importance of funding Coverdell! A small logo for your own websites is now available. Click here for a PDF file describing CLP/Coverdell. It also works well as a handout at meetings. You need Adobe’s free Acrobat Reader to view the PDF; download it for free here.
3) Add your name to the Crime Lab Project mailing list.
4) You can read about other ways to help from our blog post, “What can I do to improve public forensic science?”