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DPS Commissioner Fisher: state crime lab severely understaffed, underfunded

Photo courtesy of the Department of Safety

Department of Public Safety Commission Marshall Fisher says that the State crime lab is severely understaffed and while they are looking to have more funding from the government, they are still waiting on the upcoming legislative session to approve the budget.

The state crime lab has only three medical examiners at this time and Fisher said that number is set to lessen.

“At the end of this month we are going to have two and the end of the year we are going to have one,” Fisher said.

Fisher said that their three medical examiners at the state crime lab did roughly 1,500 autopsies last year alone.

“The national association of medical examiners, their accreditation entity if you will, recommends no more than 250 per year,” Fisher said.

Fisher said that the cases are backed up and said that they are actively recruiting medical examiners.

He added that the state crime lab is one of the most important aspects of the criminal justice system.

“It’s a horrendous job, and often times a thankless job,” Fisher said.

Fisher said that while they would like to be able to have eight medical examiners on staff, they are looking to the legislature for the funding to have 6 medical examiners.

“Part of the reason I think we are losing them is because they are just exhausted,” Fisher said.

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