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Local Police To Foot The Bill For DPS Lab Tests

The Texas Department of Public Safety's Crime Lab in Austin.
The Texas Department of Public Safety's Crime Lab in Austin.

From Texas Standard:

Soon, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will begin billing local police departments across Texas for any lab work done by the agency. The service used to be free but DPS is now  charging in order to make up for budget cuts to its lab system made during the regular legislative session.

 

The rider attached to theDPSbudget gives it the legal authority to charge, but local entities weren’t prepared for the change and will now have to adjust their own budgets. Mark Wilson covers crime and justice for the Austin American-Statesman and says the local agencies are primarily concerned with the financial impact, but says it’s possible that the new fees could affect actual police work.

“I would imagine that there would be concerns with how evidence is gonna be handled and how it’s gonna be charged,” Wilson says.

Ultimately, though, Wilson says it’s likely DPS couldn’t sustain the free service over the long term, and this is a way for local agencies to chip in.

 

Written by Caroline Covington.

Copyright 2020 KUT 90.5. To see more, visit KUT 90.5.

Rhonda is the newest member of the KUT News team, joining in late 2013 as producer for KUT's new daily news program, The Texas Standard. Rhonda will forever be known as the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the first full-time hire for The Texas Standard?” She’s an Iowa native who got her start in public radio at WFSU in Tallahassee, while getting her Master's Degree in Library Science at Florida State University. Prior to joining KUT and The Texas Standard, Rhonda was a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio.