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Oct 30, 2015 5:40 PM

Shaheen proposes funding for overwhelmed forensic labs

The Associated Press

CONCORD — Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is introducing legislation to help state police forensic labs in New Hampshire and elsewhere deal with a dramatic workload increases due the surge in heroin use.

Employees at the New Hampshire lab have been working more than 12-hour days to keep up with requests to test drugs seized by law enforcement. Lab officials said earlier this month that it is receiving about 750 requests per month but only has the resources to process about 500 samples.

Shaheen's bill would authorize $10 million per year through the Community Oriented Policing Services program. The money could be used for forensic lab staff, equipment and overtime, and police departments could use it for additional field testing equipment.

She plans to introduce the bill next week.

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