Anchorage Assembly member Fred Dyson says the Anchorage Police Department needs more manpower when it comes to processing blood work of criminal suspects, and he wants the money to come from the city's budget for downtown flowers.

According to Dyson, prosecutors delay indictments of suspected impaired drivers because of delays in getting blood work back for trial.

"It's inexcusable — choke point in the criminal justice system that is leaving bad drivers out on the roads doing more damage just because of an administrative issue," Dyson said.

Dyson's budget amendment calls for one new APD lab technician to speed up the process of getting blood results.

"Not only driving but assault cases when they have blood samples and so on — other body fluids," Dyson added.

Dyson says the new position will cost around $120,000.

"I'm enthusiastic about gardening and beauty also. But it's amazing to me that more people will show up to support flowers than they will abused children or rape and assault cases and mayhem on our highways. I don't understand those kind of public values," said Dyson.

This is not the first time someone from the Assembly has attempted to cut the flower budget for public safety measures.

Last year Assemblyman John Weddleton decided against pursing a measure to clean up homeless camps and help overflow shelters because of push back by citizens who were upset that his effort would have eliminated Anchorage's entire horticulture budget, which included downtown flowers, to pay for his idea.

Weddleton later said he did not know the money he wanted was equal to the municipality's entire horticulture budget. Horticulture officials at the time said Weddleton's plan would result in greenhouses closing and the elimination of 30 seasonal jobs and five permanent positions.

Dyson says horticulture volunteers do "great work," specifically in Eagle River where he lives. But people may not have to worry like last time because Dyson says he doesn't expect his amendment to be approved.

"And we will be defacto saying downtown flowers, for the benefit of visitors, is more important than public safety," he said.

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