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.