SFPD Drug Lab Permanently Shutting Down

By Jessica Greene
|  Thursday, May 6, 2010  |  Updated 7:37 AM PDT
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SFPD Drug Lab Permanently Shutting Down

NBC Bay Area

Ripple effect far worse than thought

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The San Franciso Police Department's scandal-ridden drug lab is permanently closing, Chief George Gascon announced Wednesday.

Gascon said the department will turn over drug testing to an independent agency while its crime lab focuses on DNA testing. The drug lab was closed temporarily in March amid allegations that a lab tech was skimming drug evidence, which led to the dismissal of hundreds of drug cases.

An audit of the drug lab in late March found a number of problems, including understaffing and excessive caseloads, improper evidence handling and shoddy record keeping.

The new audit found that the crime lab "is running well, as far as the DNA is concerned," Gascon said at a news conference at police  headquarters Wednesday morning.

"The integrity of the DNA section was deemed to be appropriate," he said, adding that he was "very pleased" by the report. The audit notes that the DNA lab is "well organized and professional, with an excellent training program and highly qualified staff," adding that "the overall quality of the work and laboratory operations was very good."

Auditors did find a few "minor documentation issues" and recommended that the lab hire more staff and get more computers.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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