SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A new, multi-million-dollar forensics lab opened in Sante Fe on Tuesday.

“We talk about forensic evidence and all the crime that’s going on in New Mexico. This is a huge facet to fighting crime,” said Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen.

Sheriff Allen said this is an important addition to the state and will allow for faster processing of evidence, leading to crimes being solved quicker.

Officials cut the ribbon on the new 44,000-square-foot building on Tuesday. It will house processing non-drug-related evidence like DNA, fingerprints, and firearm analysis.

“Last year, we completed work in about 8,000 cases,” New Mexico Dept. of Public Safety Forensic Laboratory Director Katharina Babcock said.

The new building is roughly four times the size of the old one, making it the largest forensic laboratory in the state. With its size, police and sheriffs statewide should be able to help clear cases quicker than before.

“We provide unbiased scientific testimony and reports on analysis for all sorts of cases that are submitted to us from 300 law enforcement agencies throughout the state,” Babcock said.

The building cost $29 million to build. Funds for the project were secured back in 2019.

“Everyone always talks about a backlog. You’re always going to have a backlog, but due to the technology and thought that they put into this building, that will help,” Sheriff Allen explained.