[Ibogaine] news, cops cant drug test for free anymore in az
DC in AZ
dcollier9 at cox.net
Thu Jul 24 12:20:52 EDT 2008
By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
Published on Thursday, July 24, 2008
PHOENIX - A last-minute deal to balance the state budget could force local
police to choose between laying off workers or not pursuing certain crimes.
The budget which Gov. Janet Napolitano helped craft cuts the state
allocation for the Department of Public Safety crime lab by more than half.
It also directs the agency to make up that difference by billing police,
fire and sheriff's departments and medical examiner's offices a total of
$7.8 million for lab work that, until now, was done for free.
And because the budget deal was not made public until late June, it also
came after cities and counties already had adopted their own budget -
budgets which never counted on a new bill from DPS.
Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever said Wednesday that goes back on what
essentially was a promise made when tax dollars were used to set up the
crime lab in the first place - that the lab would provide services to police
agencies throughout the state.
"I think it's a little outrageous," said Dever, whose agency would have to
pay $137,000 this year under a proposal crafted by DPS. More to the point,
he said it could hamper crime fighting efforts.
"The dangerous part, of course, is that law enforcement agencies may be in a
position because of cost to have to kind of 'cherry pick' which cases they're
going to send up to the lab for analysis," Dever said. "A lot of potentially
useful information and lab analysis that we get that could lead to other
convictions down the road is going to be lost."
Flagstaff Police Chief Brent Cooper, whose agency would need to come up with
more than $233,000, said he was particularly upset that no one bothered to
tell police chiefs and sheriffs this was even being considered. Now, Cooper
said, his department is going to have to figure out how to come up with the
cash without scrapping investigations.
"I do pledge to the victims of our community that we will do everything we
can within our power to make sure that their cases are processed properly,"
The idea did not come from DPS.
"We're not in favor of doing this," said Deputy DPS Director Pennie
Gillette-Stroud. But she said she recognizes that the state's economy has
resulted in not enough tax revenues to support all government services.
"There had to be a way to be able to make attempts to balance the budget for
the state," she said.
Napolitano echoed that theme, citing the $2 billion gap between anticipated
revenues and expenses.
"The pain is going to have to be spread in many ways," she said.
"In an ideal situation, sure, you would like to provide those services free
of charge," the governor continued. "But we weren't dealing with an ideal
Tom Kelly, a spokesman for the Apache Junction police department, called the
more than $121,000 hit to his department "devastating."
"I don't know where the money will come from," he said. "There could be
layoffs or less city services in public works, the library or public
And then there's the option of simply ordering less lab work.
"We can't tell a family that their family member is less important than
anyone else," Kelly said. "It may be a question of 'Do we send for blood?'
(or) 'Do we go for latent (prints)?' "
Even Tucson Police Department, which has its own crime lab, will be hit to
the tune of about $91,000 because it sends blood and urine samples to DPS
for drug analysis. Sgt. Fabian Pacheco said his agency will have to find the
money somewhere to ensure that all cases are prosecuted.
"I don't think victims should have to pay the price" of the budget crunch,
Clint Norred, an officer with the Yuma Police Department said the question
of what to do next will depend on exactly how DPS structures its billing.
One approach is based on the amount of lab work each agency sent to DPS last
year. In Yuma's case that would be more than $112,000.
But another option would be the a la carte approach, with agencies paying
for each procedure requested.
For example, DPS would charge $87 to analyze a blood sample for alcohol and
provide the necessary court testimony.
Lab work for "date rape" drugs would cost $330 each, with biological
screening running between $125 and $500 per case.
Norred said if that becomes the billing method his department will be
shopping around to see if a private lab can do the work cheaper.
And Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said his agency, facing a potential
$354,000 bill, may follow the lead of Mesa and Scottsdale police who have
set up their own crime labs.
Arpaio also pointed out that DPS will be operating a new statewide photo
radar system which Gov. Janet Napolitano has predicted should bring in $90
million during its first partial year of operation. Those anticipated
revenues were not considered in balancing the budget.
"Why doesn't DPS take some of the money they're going to make with photo
radar enforcement and put it to this?" he asked. "Why now mess with law
enforcement and make them pay for crime analysis?"
The change affects not just police but any agency that needs lab work. That
includes the Pima County Attorney's Office which sometimes requests DNA or
"We understand that the state is having a tight year," said David Berkman,
the agency's chief criminal deputy. "But we're having a tight year with our
Berkman noted, though, that the anticipated bill for his agency is less than
$8,000, something he said it will be able to absorb.
Below is are preliminary figures based on a draft obtained from the Arizona
Department of Public Safety on what it is considering charging each agency
for lab services to save $7.8 million in its budget.
. Benson Police Department: $41,908.73
. Bisbee Police Department: $7,495.28
. Douglas Police Department: $72,589.99
. Huachuca City Police Department: $2,024.35
. Patagonia Marshal's Office: 1,452.93$
. Sierra Vista Police Department: $196,927.91
. Tombstone Marshal's Office: $2,273.23
. Statewide city subtotal: $5,689,385.25
. Cochise County Attorney's Office: $710.20
. Cochise County Sheriff's Office: $137,066.20
. Santa Cruz County Attorney: $236.73
. Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office: $27,562.06
. Santa Cruz METRO Task Force: $18,503.60
. County subtotal: $2,110,914.75
Overall total: $7,800,300
Source: Department of Public Safety
* Note that these preliminary figures are based on the number and type of
cases each agency referred to the crime lab last year.
John Leptich of Tribune Newspapers contributed to this report.
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