HPD Response to Third Report Issued by Independent
June 30, 2005 -- Houston Police
Chief Harold Hurtt and managers in the Crime Laboratory and Property
Room have reviewed the most recent report released by the Independent
Investigator for the Crime Lab and Property Room Michael Bromwich
and welcome any recommendations from the investigator in areas
"We are committed - and will continue to
be committed - in my administration to making things right,"
said Chief Hurtt. "Issues raised by Mr. Bromwich regarding
evidence handling in our property room are being addressed and
design plans are already in motion to build a state-of-the-art
property room the police department and citizens of Houston deserve,"
the chief said.
The independent investigator pointed to two major
areas of concern at the property room at 1103 Goliad. One is a
lack of adequate storage space and the other a lack of temperature
control and humidity to properly store biological evidence. For
the past eight months, HPD officials have been in discussions
with city officials to secure a site for the building of a new
property room. The new building would be housed at 1200 Washington,
the site of the old Police Garage, which is slated to be demolished.
In terms of proper temperature control for evidence, the property
room is scheduled to take delivery of a new 8-x 24-foot freezer
in coming weeks.
Questions were also raised in the third report
about the work of a former lab employee, Baldev Sharma, who worked
in the lab from 1989 through his retirement this past February.
We will be speaking with the independent investigator to determine
the scope of a possible review of cases Sharma worked.
Chief Hurtt was not surprised to learn of the
continued cooperation current lab employees are extending to the
independent investigator. "I am proud of our lab employees
who have worked very hard to gain accreditation in all areas of
the lab," said Chief Hurtt. "And I am confident that
Irma Rios and her staff are committed to making this the best
crime lab in the country."
For additional information, please
contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.