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Houston’s Forensic Crime Lab Showing Efficiency Despite Its Plagued Past

The nation’s first doctoral degree in forensic science from Sam Houston State comes at a time when Houston’s crime lab is showing signs of improvement

A student from Sam Houston State University receives the nation's first doctoral degree in Forensic Science – a field of study in the past, where the Houston Police Department's Crime Lab Division was notoriously one of the nation's worst.

But the doctorate now comes at a time when the city's Crime Lab is showing signs of improvement.

“I grew up watching ‘CSI’ and ‘Law and Order’ with my mom and I loved it,” said Lindsey Glicksberg. She’s the first in the country to graduate with a Ph.D. in forensic science. “I didn’t want to be a detective knocking on doors. I wanted to be in the lab, finding those answers.”

But this line of work might not be as sexy as it's depicted in shows like "CSI" and "Mindhunter."

Ramit Plushnick-Masti is with the Houston Forensic Science Center.

“In 2014, when the Houston Forensic Science Center took over services from the Houston Police Department, this crime lab had been under so much pressure and had such a poor reputation nationally, because of scandals that had plagued it in the past,” said Plushnick-Masti. “It was very hard to attract people.”

Improper procedures and evidence tampering affected scores of cases – putting past convictions and other criminal court cases in jeopardy.

Plushnick-Masti said now their crime lab operates more efficiently with better transparency and testing protocols.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, forensic science is growing at a rate of 19% a year, with the largest demands in the areas of DNA, firearms and trace evidence.

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Eddie Robinson

Eddie Robinson

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A native of Mississippi, Eddie started his radio career as a 10th grader, working as a music jock for a 100,000-Watt (Pop) FM station and a Country AM station simultaneously. While Mississippi Governor Ray Mabus had nominated him for the U.S. Naval Academy in 1991, Eddie had an extreme passion...

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