Fort Worth crime lab outsources more evidence tests

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by TODD UNGER

Bio | Email | Follow: @toddWFAA8

WFAA

Posted on November 20, 2013 at 11:08 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 21 at 12:45 PM

FORT WORTH — The Fort Worth police crime lab is getting city approval to outsource more evidence tests.

An extra $100,000 was approved by the City Council this week for an agreement between the city's crime lab and Tarrant County's crime lab to help with specific types of tests.

"It's expensive to outsource, but it is also very expensive to do those cases here," explained city lab director Tom Stimpson.

The financial agreement first started in April for $50,000.

But Stimpson said there is an even greater urgency now, because police are seeing an increase in the need for forensic lab services in a couple of key areas.

"We never can seem to catch up," he said.

Specifically, the city is having the county handle blood tests for substances other than alcohol, like hard drugs.

It also is having the county do some tests for sexual assault cases, along with cases that involve the test for gunshot residue.

Those are all areas that since 2010 police have "experienced an increase in the need for forensic laboratory services," according to City Council documents for Tuesday's meeting.

Stimpson says in some instances — like with the residue test — the city simply doesn't own the equipment necessary to handle the cases.

"The equipment can be very expensive," he said.

The county itself is trying to shift through a "five-year backlog," according to the agenda item for Tuesday's meeting.

But on Thursday, the county lab said the council documents were incorrect and that there is no such lengthy backlog. 

Stimpson said his lab is seeing more than 8,000 cases annually — everything from fingerprints to DNA to bullet and firearm matches.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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