Month: July 2012

Breaking: St. Paul Police Stopping Drug Testing at Crime Lab

According to WCCO St. Paul’s Police Chief Thomas Smith has suspended all drug testing at his own crime lab until a review has been completed of their procedures.

Smith told the CBS affiliate, “Of course, I know of the criticisms and shortcomings that have surfaced in the department’s crime lab regarding the testing of suspected controlled substances.”

The lab’s problems with its drug testing procedures surfaces this week after a well-known forensics expert testified in Dakota County court that the lab is doing “insufficient, unvalidated testing” by untrained analysts.

The lab’s biggest customers like the Minnesota State Patrol and Washington and Dakota counties have stopped using the facility.

Smith wrote a letter to St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman this week stating his plans to “explore additional technical expertise.”

Today, Smith announced he’d also replace crime lab head Sgt. Shay Shackle with Senior Cmdr. Colleen Luna who has more than a decade of experience working with the crime lab.

The chief also said he plans to have any pending and current cases involving narcotics retested.

The St. Paul Crime lab has a staff of eight, including two sergeants and two officers. They are also responsible for some testing on finger print identification and DNA collection; that work will continue.

City of Minneapolis Releases New App

The City of Minneapolis just unveiled some new technology to make it easier for you to notify officials about problems like potholes, graffiti, and broken street light with its new “Minneapolis 311” mobile application.

Residents can now report problems to the City by downloading the free app on their iPhone or Android without calling 311 or by visiting the City’s website. Ten service requests are now available on the app and more will be added very soon. You can currently report the following issues on the app:

  • Abandoned vehicle
  • Graffiti
  • Parking meters
  • Parking violations
  • Potholes
  • Traffic signal timing
  • Broken street light
  • Traffic sign repair
  • Traffic signal trouble

GPS will provide the location of the service you are requesting and you can upload a picture to add more detail to your request. The app also makes it easy to follow your request from start to finish. Service requests made via the app can be submitted 24/7 whether or not “311” is open or not.

The mobile app is available in the App Store or in the Android Market by searching “Minneapolis 311.”

People who use a Blackberry or Windows Phone devices can also report service requests directly to “Minneapolis 311” by visiting on their mobile browser.