Mistakes and corruption in the HPD crime lab called for an independent investigation to clean house.
“We feel very confident that we have fixed the problems that were present in the laboratory and that we are good to go doing case work.”
Dr Laura Gahn manages the biology and DNA sections of the HPD crime lab. She was hired in June after her predecessor was found to be feeding analysts answers needed to pass a DNA skills test.
“We understand that the public needs something more than just us saying ‘hey everything’s fine’, and so, this is a method by which we can have some outsiders continue to keep an eye on the work that’s being produced by the crime laboratory.”
Based on recommendations made by independent investigator Michael Bromwich, the HPD hired The Forensic Science Service of England.
“They’ve been doing DNA testing since the beginning, and they’ve been doing for a long time, and they’ve been doing a lot of it. So, they really understand how to use the newest technology and use the people the best in order to do a really high volume and do it as well as we can possibly do it.”
Dr. Gahn says the experts in the field of DNA testing will examine the progress made.
“Evaluate where we are now, where we want to be, and how best to grow the laboratory. To use technology to help us do things better, while still maintaining that high level of quality.”
It is the goal of FSS to show the HPD crime lab how to process a larger amount of samples faster and more efficiently. It has 60-days to review the changes made and offer recommendations. Dr. Gahn says the company will certainly earn its 40-thousand dollar fee because the crime lab is ready to earn its reputation.
“Absolutely, I’m very excited about where we are right now, and what work we could be doing in the laboratory and, I have alot of ideas that myself but, the more input we can get into how to do that right, the better job we’ll do, and the more quickly we’ll be able to do it.”
Pat Hernandez, KUHF…Houston Public Radio News.