Valley Sheriff: At Least $200K Saved After Lab Fees Canceled
EDINBURG – A Rio Grande Valley sheriff said Hidalgo County taxpayers saved at least $200,000 when the Department of Public Safety canceled its proposed lab fees.
DPS believed the fees were necessary after state lawmakers approved a budget removing almost $12 million from their annual budget.
Fees for tests like DNA, blood alcohol and toxicology were going to take effect on Sept. 1.
The agency backed off the idea after receiving backlash.
Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said the county wasn’t planning on those expenses.
“I couldn’t find the money. So, it was definitely going to cause some problems for us here, and not only for the sheriff’s office, of course, the district attorney and some of the (police departments),” he said.
Some lawmakers supported the DPS lab fees saying the agency is experiencing a backlog due to police departments submitting for tests, free of charge.
Guerra said his department isn’t being held up by those backlogs. He said lab testing is just one of the tools his investigators use to build a case.