Crime lab alternatives being probed by police 

Outsourcing the work of the beleaguered crime lab could be a “Plan B” for the Police Department in the wake of the drug scandal at the facility.

Sending the work to another site is one of many ideas now being studied by the city controller at the request of police Chief George Gascón.

Amid the fallout of the scandal involving former crime tech Deborah Madden allegedly taking drugs from the lab, the Controller’s Office will be assessing the facility to fix some of the processes and associated costs of the reforms, according to Deputy Controller Monique Zmuda.

“Because the crime lab is no longer part of a general-obligation bond, there has to be a short- and long-term solution,” Zmuda said.

Money to build a new lab was removed from the $652 million San Francisco Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond measure on the June ballot.

The portion of the lab that does the controlled-substance testing was shuttered March 9. The drug evidence is being tested in San Mateo and Alameda counties.

Assistant Chief Jeff Godown, who is working to fix problems at the crime lab, has not been supportive of permanently outsourcing the testing. He estimates farming out DNA testing would cost The City about $6 million a year. In addition, there would be the price of drug testing.

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Brent Begin

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