AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Amarillo police will soon be able to process drug cases faster thanks to an upcoming addition to their staff.
With a forensic scientist working directly for the department, narcotics cases can be closed in half the time they take now.
Any drugs the APD seizes go to the DPS crime lab for analysis, where they have to wait to be processed behind any existing cases.
"It could take anywhere from six weeks to eight weeks for us to get a return on a drug lab," said Officer Jeb Hilton with the Amarillo Police Department.
But this week the Amarillo City Council unanimously approved a contract for a forensic scientist to be hired for the department.
This person will prioritize APD drug cases over evidence submitted by other agencies.
"What this is going to do is expedite any labs that we send over for drug arrests," said Hilton. "Anything from felony synthetic drugs, to marijuana, to controlled substances are going to be tested and hopefully back to us in 30 days."
This forensic scientist will still work at the DPS crime lab, but will focus mainly on APD evidence analysis.
Hilton said this addition to their staff will allow people facing drug charges to get to court quicker, and speed up investigations.
"I think what we're going to see with this is an expedited return on getting people off the streets for drug charges," he said. "We're going to see a lot more time for our detectives who are having to spend time on waiting for these results to come back. I think it's going to speed up our process...we're going to enjoy the results."
The forensic scientist has not been hired yet.
Once they are, they will be under contract with the police department for 2 years to see if this addition really does increase productivity.