The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is expected to request an additional $35 million in funding during the 2016 legislative session, including $7.76 million to raise the base salaries of people working in crime labs.
An internal sheriff’s investigation completed today makes clear that Pazarena and her boyfriend at no time behaved improperly at a Vitamin shop where the incident occurred, or did anything more than what an overly inquisitive shopper might do, though store employees exhibited behavior identical to profiling.
Laura Pazarena, the Flagler County Sheriff’s crime scene technician hired two years ago to launch the department’s first CSI unit, is under internal investigation, and has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation’s outcome.
Former Pensacola crime laboratory chemist Joseph Graves was arrested Tuesday evening, three days after revealing that crime evidence at an FDLE crime lab may have compromised cases in up to 35 counties statewide. Flagler County is not among those counties.
A chemist who worked nearly 2,600 cases for 80 law enforcement agencies spanning 35 counties and 12 judicial circuits is on paid leave pending an investigation into pain-killer pills stolen from an FDLE evidence vault and replaced with over-the-counter drugs.
Anticipating the day when FDLE’s crime labs will not be as readily accessible, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is investing in a crime scene investigator of its own, a mobile CSI unit, and a $75,000 annual contract with DNA Labs International, a private company, to more aggressively use DNA testing in property crimes.