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SFPD Proposes to Restructure Crime Lab

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)_ San Francisco’s police chief has outlined his plan for dealing with his department’s embattled crime lab.

The proposal includes the creation of a new Internal Affairs Division.

Police Chief George Gascon says there were systemic failures in the crime lab that had to be addressed.

“It’s a question of money. There is no doubt that money was a factor, but we can’t escape the fact that there was an amount of negligence involved,” says Gascon.

Gascon says action has been taken to eliminate the backlog in crime lab cases.

One step is the training of about 600 officers to do basic drug evidence testing in the field.

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Police Captain David Lazar says the new procedure has drastically reduced their workload.

“Criminalists are no longer required to test suspected narcotics within 48 hours which had been the practice in the past,” says Lazar.

Gascon says new policies will help to ensure that all evidence about police witnesses will be turned over to defense lawyers.

He also says a new internal affairs division will streamline the review of police misconduct allegations.

Meanwhile Gascon says no final decision has been made to bring criminal charges against Deborah Madden who allegedly tampered with drug evidence for her personal use.

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