sfpd_crimescene.jpgSan Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi introduced legislation Tuesday to transfer responsibility for the city’s embattled crime lab from the Police Department to the office of the city administrator.

The ordinance, if approved, would set a July 1 date for the change.

The lab’s drug unit has been closed since March 9, when police Chief George Gascon announced that a former civilian criminalist at the lab had admitted to taking small amounts of cocaine from evidence.

Audits of the drug lab have also cited several ongoing issues related to excessive caseloads, evidence handling and shoddy conditions at the lab, and Gascon has said he would consider the possibility of independent drug testing.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi and District Attorney Kamala Harris have both called for independent drug testing.

The results of a separate audit of the crime lab’s DNA unit are expected this week, according to Gascon.

Mirkarimi’s proposal would have the city controller and the city administrator, who already oversees the medical examiner’s office, examine future options, including having the medical examiner handle crime lab services, creating a regional crime lab with neighboring counties, or contracting out services.

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  • bloomsm

    The lab should be independent. A crime lab exists for the purpose of gathering evidence. Evidence is used in trials. The DA–not SFPD–run criminal trials. A witness can be impeached for her or his bias, including lack of independence from, essentially, the prosecutors. Instead of letting people walk, let’s give the lab to a third party neutral.