By Lemor Abrams

PLACER COUNTY (CBS13) — Placer County wants to make it easier to catch criminals, with a new state-of-the-art crime lab.

The proposal comes amid a growing backlog of DNA evidence, but the lab comes with a hefty price tag.

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County officials promise they have the funds available, and law enforcement officials say the need far outweighs the cost, saying a new crime lab will result in faster prosecutions of criminals.

TV shows make it look easy, but in reality many crime labs struggle to keep up with evidence.

Rocklin Police Chief Ron Lawrence says detectives process standard evidence like fingerprints, but DNA analysis is sent to the state Department of Justice, which carries its own backlog.

“What happens is, because we’re a low crime safe city, we get stuck in a line of evidence behind other more high crime areas that are more significant,” he said.

Rocklin isn’t alone. Neighboring cities such as Auburn, Roseville and Lincoln all rely on the state’s crime lab because Placer County doesn’t have its own facility for forensics.

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Officials say some cases take years to prosecute as a result.

Placer County Supervisor Jack Duran says a proposed crime lab is finally in the works. The county is looking to Denver’s 77,000-square-foot state-of-the-art lab as a model. A local version would be housed on Justice Center Drive in Roseville. It would include a morgue and crime lab under one roof.

The price tag? $64 million.

“Right now, the county is looking at a couple different financing plans to do that. the county has really good credit. It might be one of those situations where we actually go out and seek a loan,” he said.

Lawrence says some things go beyond money.

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“The emotional cost to our victims far outweighs $64 million. For us to be able to catch criminals quickly and process them in court–that is worth gold,” he said.