At least one area crime lab isn't a fiasco...

KHOU-11's Shern-Min Chow reports on one area crime lab that (unlike HPD's crime lab) isn't making news for all the wrong reasons:

The Harris County crime lab is recognized as one of the top labs in the state.

Mike Sutton ran the FBI’s Houston crime scene unit. Often he sent his evidence to a Houston lab.

“I could take it to them — I was certain I would get it back done right in a timely manner,” the 35-year federal agent said.

Not HPD’s beleaguered crime lab, but one a few miles away you probably don’t even know exists.

Harris County has a combined medical examiner and forensics lab that is the largest in Texas after the Department of Public Safety’s state lab.

“It’s one of the top labs in Texas and perhaps even in the U.S.,” Sutton said.

So what is Harris County doing right? Self-policing, certification and state-of-the-art equipment, kind of like on TV.

Like any successful program, you have to be willing to pay for it. Since 2003, Harris County has upped the budget from $10 million to $18 million dollars, nearly doubling the staff to nearly 200 employees.

Mayor White and other municipal leaders balked at even paying for the Bromwich investigation into the problems at the HPD Crime Lab, so we're not holding our breath for a serious commitment of resources to fix its problems. There are trinkets to be pursued, after all.

A Harris County Lawyer had this amusing reaction to the story:

It's worth noting that in all of the DNA scandals caused by the HPD Lab, that Harris County's Lab never ran into the same problems.

Then again, Clarence Bradford wasn't ever the head of the Harris County Lab.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 03/19/08 10:08 PM | Print |

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