Lawmakers Seek Audit Of State Crime Lab

Lawmakers have approved an audit of the state crime lab to see if it is properly managing evidence.

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Sen. Berta Gardner made the request of the Legislative Budget and Audit committee on Thursday. The Anchorage Democrat filed a bill to audit the processing of rape kits in the state earlier this year, after a report by the Legislature’s research department was unable to get information on the number of untested kits.

“All of the answers were, ‘Unknown. Unknown. Unknown,’” said Gardner.

The bill is still in committee, but Gardner said she started getting calls from current and former crime lab employees, alleging mismanagement. That pushed her to request an audit on the lab itself.

“There were claims, for example, that one whistleblower — that she’d worked as a lab technician for almost ten years but left her job because she was afraid of losing her national accreditation because of management’s failure to maintain a proper chain of custody with evidence and failure to adhere to standards for storage of evidence,” said Gardner.

The $90 million crime lab has been in operation since 2012.

At the same meeting, the committee also approved an audit of the cruise ship head tax and the way the revenue was being used, and an audit of the Department of Fish and Game’s advisory committee process.