The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation wants to start charging local police agencies for testing done at the state’s crime labs, reports the Associated Press. A TBI spokeswoman explained the agency is faced with making millions of dollars in cuts for next year’s budget, so it is looking at ways to increase revenue. The agency will have to cut 50 to 80 positions unless it raises revenue, she said.
The TBI has three labs – in Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis – and last year ran tests on 83,000 exhibits. The proposed plan would charge local police departments $20 per exhibit. If DNA testing is involved, another $100 would be added to the cost. The fees on forensic analysis of biological, chemical and physical evidence would have to be approved by the Legislature. The TBI also is proposing that defendants pay more of the forensic analysis cost. Defendants already pay $100 in court costs for blood-alcohol and drug testing. The TBI’s proposal would increase that to $250.