Crime Lab / Elementary School

STATUS: Demolished (2017)

The former Stephen Foster Elementary School ceased to be used as a school in 1987 and was re-purposed as the City of Detroit Police Department Crime Lab. It was also home to the DPD’s Tactical Services Section, including special units like the Bomb Squad, SWAT, Sharpshooter unit, etc.

The infamous Detroit Police Department Crime Lab was shut down in 2008 after it was found routinely committing “serious errors” caused in part by “the deplorable conditions of the facility”. An audit, conducted by the State Police, uncovered serious errors in numerous cases and a 10% error rate was found in firearms analysis. The audit said sloppy work had probably resulted in wrongful convictions, and officials expect a wave of appeals in cases that the laboratory processed. Upon its closure, evidence from approximately 10,000 unprocessed rape kits were discovered in the lab, dating back nearly twenty years.

The auditors said that officers at the laboratory often cut corners and that in many instances “an assumption was made to the entirety of all items based on the analysis of only a few.” Technical reviews of the work were “almost nonexistent,” they wrote. Factors that contributed to the problems, they said, were a heavy workload, a lack of training and “the deplorable conditions of the facility.”

The Detroit Free Press reported that evidence, thousands of rounds of live ammunition, blood samples, sealed evidence kits and case files (some containing Social Security numbers of rape and assault victims) lay amid rubble in the abandoned crime lab that was open to trespass.



Exploration of the former, ONE SIX!

First time ever, exploring an abandoned police precinct, woohoo!!  The doors were wide open, front and back, and despite that fact that it is located on the corner of an extremely busy intersection, we didn’t even get a second look as we strolled inside.

As we entered, Mike walked straight to the back because he saw the holding cells, while I stayed toward the front and photographed the offices and hallway.  The amount of peely paint along the main hallway was GLORIOUS!  OMG I couldn’t get enough of it. I’m pretty sure I took well over 100 pics of that hallway lol.  Some rooms, like the interrogation room and bathrooms were too dark to photograph, but the rest of the precinct was well lit.


And without further ado, here’s a little bit of location history on this location:

The former 16th Police Precinct of the DPD was built in the mid 1950’s.  Like most police stations built around this time, there was a lobby, garage, offices and a firing range (in the basement).  During the late 70’s-80’s the DPD started to close several precincts and lay off  hundreds of officers.  In 1984, the 16th was renamed the, 8th precinct.  The 8th precinct remained active until its closure in 2005, when the department continued its downsizing throughout the city and the remaining 12 stations were consolidated to 6 district stations.  The 8th precinct remained locked down for a year or so after its closure, until it was inevitably broken into and vandalized.  In 2011, items that had previously been left behind were removed after a fire was started in the lobby.  Today the station awaits demolition.