UPDATE dated July 31, 2017
The Texas Department of Public Safety is notifying law enforcement and prosecutors statewide that Governor Greg Abbott has requested DPS withdraw its letter of intent to charge a fee for forensic analysis of physical evidence. After being informed of Governor Abbott's decision, legislative leadership agreed. DPS will continue to provide high-quality expert analytical services to our law enforcement partners at no cost to these agencies.
(From a message from Robert J. Bodisch, Deputy Director of Homeland Security and Services)
Sept. 1st Funding Change Mandated by Legislative Action
AUSTIN – In accordance with the General Appropriation Act (GAA) passed by the 85th Texas Legislature requiring the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to collect up to $11.5 million in fees for forensic analysis services (per Rider 58) in order to realize the full budget authorization for DPS Crime Labs ($74.5 million), DPS will begin charging law enforcement agencies for using certain crime laboratory services on Sept. 1, 2017. Accordingly, DPS today released a fee schedule for particular crime lab services.
The Legislature provided the DPS lab system approximately $63 million for FY 2018-2019, and requires up to an additional $11.5 million to be charged and collected (as referenced above), which would make up the balance of the total authorized budget of the $74.5 million for crime laboratory services. Last biennium, the DPS crime lab was appropriated approximately $74.7 million.
For additional details and the fee schedule, visit: http://www.dps.texas.gov/docs/rider58.pdf or download the PDF below.
And then this happened:
Posted on July 26, 2017.
In response to last week’s announcement by the Texas Department of Public Safety that the agency will begin charging fees to local sheriff’s offices and police departments for use of the DPS crime labs, a service that has been offered in the past for free, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin has announced new fees of his own.
Akin, who has previously worked for DPS, announced late Tuesday that effective Sept. 1, the Wise County Sheriff’s Office Jail will charge DPS and all other state agencies $50 per day/per inmate to house their prisoners. The WCSO also plans to charge DPS for medical costs, court transport, extra blankets, toiletries and any injuries their prisoners may cause the jailers, Akin announced in a Facebook post.
“We are only passing along our cost,” Akin wrote. “We have no intent to profit from our law enforcement relationship.”
Last Thursday, DPS Director Steven McCraw announced that their agency has been directed to collect up to $11.4 million in fees from entities that use forensic analysis services provided by the agency. DPS will charge for forensic analysis performed on controlled substances, toxicology, DNA evidence submissions and biological specimens to detect the presence of alcohol, McCraw announced.