Madison Co. commissioners clear way for TBI crime lab

JACKSON, Tenn. — Madison County commissioners took steps Monday that would help move a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime lab from Memphis to Jackson. The county agreed to give land near the airport to the state for the new facility.

airportMadison County commissioners agreed to give the state 10 and a half acres of land near McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport. Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris said the TBI would move the crime lab from Memphis to that property in west Madison County.

“My understanding is it’s going to be about 80 to 100 jobs,” Harris said.

Madison County Sheriff John Mehr said the more central location would speed up evidence processing. “It’s only an hour from any direction and it’s right off the interstate,” Mehr said.

Madison County Commissioner Gary Deaton said a lab in Jackson will be more cost efficient. “They can bring people to trial quicker,” he said. “That means our jails may not be as crowded as long as they are now.”

Harris said the state already approved $25 million in funding for the project. “It’s my understanding they’re wanting to start soil samples right now,” he said.

The county said they will swap a different 14-and-a-half-acre property for the 10 and a half acres the airport already owns and will now go to the TBI. The trade has to occur to meet government regulations.

Harris said the federal government still has to approve the land agreement, which he said could take between 60 and 75 days.

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