More DPS workers testing blood to ease backlog

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 7, 2012 at 11:48 am •  Published: December 7, 2012
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Department of Public Safety has reassigned about 15 crime lab workers to blood testing to help trim a backlog in drunken driving cases.

The Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV reported Thursday that the number of blood samples sent to DPS rose 500 percent in six years as police increasingly use such evidence in DWI cases.

DPS increased the number of blood testing analysts by 20 percent by temporarily moving employees from areas without as many samples. Spokesman Tom Vinger says DPS in 2009 added nine blood testing positions but no additional workers in 2011 due to state budget constraints.

Sen. John Whitmire of Houston, who chairs the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, says it's a glaring example of not having enough resources to do the job.

Legislators convene in January.