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September 15, 2014

Bill to fix troubled crime lab: $140,800

It’s going to cost St. Paul at least $140,800 to evaluate and reform work procedures at the police department crime lab, MPR reports.

The city has signed contracts with Integrated Forensic Laboratories of Euless, Texas, and Schwarz Forensic Enterprises of Ankeny, Iowa, to analyze lab procedures and figure out how to fix it, the Pioneer Press says.

Among other questionable practices, the lab had had a policy that it was OK to bring in outside guests if they were approved by Sgt. Shay Shackle, the Star Tribune reports.. Chief Thomas Smith replaced Shackle as lab manager this summer.

The lab has been under scrutiny since earlier in the summer when Dakota County public defenders had some drug case evidence thrown out after exposing shoddy work practices. More evidence has been uncovered as testimony in Dakota County District Court continues. Evidence in thousands more drug cases could be called into question.