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Austin police hand over keys of troubled DNA lab to state


City officials plan to reopen the troubled Austin police DNA lab under an agreement in which the state will oversee the day-to-day operation of the now-shuttered facility, the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV learned Wednesday.

Under a proposed contract, the city of Austin will pay the Texas Department of Public Safety $800,000 a year to manage all aspects of the lab, including procedures for analyzing forensic evidence and the oversight of employees hired by DPS to work there.

The newly named Department of Public Safety Capital Area Regional Lab will focus exclusively on Austin police cases, Assistant Police Chief Troy Gay said.

“Right now, we have a multi-million dollar lab that is not being used, and this contract will allow the facility, which has remained vacant and under-utilized, to be fully functional,” Gay said. Austin police will have “no management and oversight responsibilities,” he said.

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