Katie will be happy to see I’m posting about something I saw on the Anderson Cooper 360 Blog.
Cooper recently paid a visit to a crime lab run by Target…as in the discount retailer. The lab, located at Target’s Minneapolis headquarters, is apparently one of the most advanced in the world and was set up to deal with things like theft, fraud and personal injury cases related to its stores. But it now also lends its services and facilities to law enforcement officials nationwide, including the FBI, Secret Service and ATF…and Target does it for free as a form of community service.
Sadly, the lab is used by so many law enforcement units because their labs are not as well equipped. Also, Target’s lab is usually able to get results quicker because of typical logjams in agency labs.
I also found this Jan. 29 story from The Washington Post about Target’s crime lab. This is not only an interesting story, but it is also very well written. I especially enjoy the lead and the conclusion…
When arson investigators in Houston needed help restoring a damaged surveillance tape to identify suspects in a fatal fire, they turned first to local experts and then to NASA. With no luck there, investigators appealed to the owner of one of the most advanced crime labs in the country: Target Corp.
Target experts fixed the tape and Houston authorities arrested their suspects, who were convicted. It was all in a day’s work for Target in its large and growing role as a high-tech partner to law enforcement agencies…
…Such close cooperation sometimes has Target employees working as de facto law enforcement officials. Chris W. Nelson, director of assets protection for the retailer, recalled one case in which he worked with federal agents for two years to break up a crime ring. He questioned informants, got to know some of the suspects and was there as a federal SWAT team surrounded one of the ringleaders on a speedboat on a lake in Minnesota.
The suspect “stopped short as he spotted me in the crowd and shouted, ‘What the [expletive] is Target doing here?!’ ” Nelson said. “I still love that one.”
(Photo: By Ben Garvin For The Washington Post)