St. Paul Police Want $1M to Start Crime Lab Upgrade

Updated: 02/05/2013 7:42 AM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls

St. Paul Police, after a summer of allegations the crime lab botched drug testing, wants to make improvements.

The Chief of Police is asking the City Council to approve a million dollars to pursue certification and improvements to the crime lab.

But, one long-time City Council member tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he wants more details from the Police Department before he agrees to vote in favor of spending taxpayers' money on a crime lab he is "not convinced is needed."

St. Paul City Council member, Dave Thune, says he wants to know specifics of the plan to spend the one million dollars and would like to know if police officials have pursued options with Ramsey County and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to save money. Thune believes the Police Department is pursuing the right thing, he just wants to make sure, he says, that it makes sense for taxpayers and the Police Department. Thune says "maybe we don't need a highly specialized crime lab at the expense of keeping squads and officers on the street."

Thune says he will not cut other departments, or "take money away from police on the streets", just to have a crime lab. St. Paul Police declined our request for an interview stating the review process of the crime lab is not public and the process is not yet competed. A police spokesperson says they will have more answers for the City Council at its meeting on Wednesday.