Crime isn't the only thing Kansas City crime lab is trying to solve

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Despite the sagging national economy, Johnson County is still growing.

In its State of the County address Tuesday, commissioners said they have improved their local economy without layoffs or tax increases.
The county is one of the few in the nation maintaining a Triple A bond rating.
It has added 5,000 new jobs. It has also saved millions of dollars by restructuring the county's retirement plan.
Commissioners say they know residents have high expectations.     

Johnson County Commissioner David Lindstrom, "I think what we have is what most people want in the U.S. and that is a safe community, educated community, a place where they live and work and feel good about what they've done."

New business has come in from outside of the county and through new construction, including the new $21 million climate-controlled crime lab in Olathe.

That crime lab is good news when it comes to Johnson County's economy but it is the latest reason for jobs moving across state line.

It is an ongoing issue between the two neighboring states.

Kansas city officials said Johnson County can pay $20,000 more in salary and does not require the employee to live there like Kansas City.

KCMO said those moves have led to a 20 percent turnover in staff.
Right now, the Kansas City crime lab has 70 employees.
Moving employees are costing the city thousands of dollars every year because they have to train new employees.

They said that causes caseloads to get backlogged.

Lab director, Linda Netzel said, "To me losing a couple hundred cases of productivity by losing on analyst that's huge to the victims and citizens of Kansas City."

Lab officials said it takes at least one year to train a new technician.
They said the problem of losing employees stem from more than better salaries, they know employees like a nice, new facility.
They said Chief Forte is aware of the problem and searching for ways to address it.

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