News

HPD Crime Lab Earns Praise For Improvements

A new report finds the Houston Police Department’s crime lab has made some great strides when it comes to how evidence is handled and analyzed.

Listen

To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:

<iframe src="https://embed.hpm.io/90411/49683" style="height: 115px; width: 100%;"></iframe>
X

houston-crime-lab-records-chair-400px.png

Back in 2007, an independent team of forensic scientists outlined more than 130 ways in which HPD’s Forensic Division fell short.

“The main problem was in the processes of the lab.”

That’s Scott Hochberg. He’s the board chair of Houston Forensic Science LGC, the independent nonprofit corporation that’s about to assume control of the crime lab.

“The handling of evidence, the testing and retesting and calibration of equipment — all of those areas were subject to criticism.”

Hochberg says the biggest improvements have come in training and supervising crime lab workers.

“The lab has achieved national accreditation, which it didn’t have at the time — which means it needs to meet some very specific and detailed requirements in terms of how procedures are done, and the record-keeping on how they’re done. The lab is better organized. The equipment is better, and more efficient, and effective. I mean, this is an across-the-board improvement.”

The report also found the lab could further improve by bringing the analysis of trace evidence back to the lab, instead of outsourcing it — and to train peace officers, defense attorneys, and prosecutors on how to better understand what happens at the lab, and how to use evidence more effectively.

Subscribe to Today in Houston

Fill out the form below to subscribe our new daily editorial newsletter from the HPM Newsroom.

* required

David Pitman

David Pitman

Host & Announcer

David was HPM's local Morning Edition host from 2009 to 2020 — when he was moved to the position of Technical Director of Houston Matters with Craig Cohen, and Town Square with Ernie Manouse. David has extensive public and commercial broadcast journalism and production experience dating back to 1993 –...

More Information