KHOU reports on more HPD Crime Lab problems

KHOU-11 posts the latest distressing news about HPD's Crime Lab:

The head of the Houston Police Departmentís DNA testing lab has resigned and two other crime lab employees have been suspended following an investigation into cheating by staff members of the embattled crime lab.

Vanessa G. Nelson, the DNA Section Chief of the HPD Crime Lab, left the department Thursday after tendering her resignation.

Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt also suspended Sujatha Yarlagadda, a criminalist for the lab, indefinitely.

Another unidentified crime lab employee was placed on temporary suspension, according to HPD.

The resignation of the section chief and the suspension of two employees came after 11 News revealed that members of the crime lab were alleged to have cheated on mandated proficiency exams.

For those who may wonder why the bloggers (and many commenters) here are often so derisive about governmental press releases extolling what a wonderful job [Name the Organization] is doing with [Name the Project], the ongoing saga of the HPD Crime Lab is a nice example of why we try to maintain a degree of skepticism even when we are assured everything is swell. Thankfully, KHOU-11 has remained on top of this story for quite some time.

We'll be looking forward to a frank discussion of the crime lab's ongoing problems during the campaign for Harris County District Attorney this year, given one candidate's significant role in the bungling.

UPDATE: Here is the latest email blast from KHOU:

The DNA/Serology Section of the HPD Crime Lab has been shut down after the head of the Houston Police Department's DNA testing lab resigned and two other crime lab employees suspended following an investigation into proficiency exam cheating by staff members. Exclusive details on 11 News at 5 p.m. and KHOU.com.

The earlier KHOU story has been updated to reflect the shutdown.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 01/25/08 04:42 PM | Print |

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