The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's-Coroner Office and Crime Lab are both run efficiently, according to a report by the county’s civil grand jury released Thursday.
The crime lab, the only one in the county, serves local, state and federal agencies. It provides suspect identification and chemical and toxicological analyses of body fluids for cases involving arrests.
Tests can be done to screen for methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, heroin and benzodiazepine tranquilizers.
However, some testing of some evidence, such as DNA and ballistic analysis, must be sent to other labs throughout the state.
Additionally, toxicology tests involving homicides are also outsourced. The lab is not equipped to do the higher level of screening those tests require, sheriff’s spokesman Tony Cipolla said.
The grand jury report notes that those tests require equipment and expertise considered too costly to provide locally.
The Coroner’s Office oversees all death investigations for the county. It moved to a permanent facility in August 2012 that consolidated the administrative office, cooler, autopsy, evidence and forensic investigation rooms and a viewing room.
Prior to the move the county leased facilities at Los Osos Valley Mortuary for autopsies, and office space was located at the Sheriff’s Office.
“The consolidation of the above services into one location results in more accurate and concise outcomes,” according to the grand jury report.
Last year, 1,400 deaths occurred in the county, and 600 were investigated. Three hundred of those required autopsies, according to the report. The Sheriff’s Office investigates all homicides and accidental deaths in the county.