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HPD Crime Lab Receives National Accreditation

May 18, 2005 -- American Society of Crime Lab Directors (ASCLD) Executive Director Ralph Keaton presented HPD Chief of Police Harold L. Hurtt with Certificate of Accreditation for HPD Crime Lab. Chief Hurtt, Crime Lab Director Irma Rios, Executive Assistant Chief Martha Montalvo, and HPD Crime Lab employees pose at Houston City Council chambers with Certificate of Accreditation. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

May 11, 2005 -- The Houston Police Department Crime Lab has received national accreditation in its operating areas and has cleared a major hurdle in the ultimate goal of gaining the confidence of our community and the criminal justice system.

In a decision reached Tuesday (May 10), the American Society of Crime Lab Directors-Laboratory Association Board (ASCLD) notified HPD Crime Lab Director Irma Rios that the lab met or exceeded all standards for accreditation in the following areas:

  • Biology (exclusive of DNA)
  • Toxicology
  • Controlled substances
  • Firearms
  • Questioned documents

Rios said it is hoped that accreditation can be earned in the lab's DNA section by the end of 2005. The DNA section has been closed since December of 2002. "Without question, we still have a lot of work to do in terms of getting this lab back up and running to its capacity," said Rios. "There is no doubt this national accreditation seal of approval means a lot to the people who have been working tirelessly to regain the public's trust in the work we do," she said.

ASCLD inspectors began visits to the lab in September 2004 and in a February 2005 inspection told lab officials they could receive accreditation with a few adjustments to the way employees handled chain of custody signatures. That process was adhered to and completed during a 90-day compliance period that ended Tuesday (May 10).

The accreditation news was well received by HPD Police Chief Harold Hurtt. "I am very proud of the job our employees have done in gaining this noteworthy achievement," said Chief Hurtt. "It is a testimony to our organization's dedication to making this the best crime lab in the country and a lab others will want to emulate."

JFC/IR 5-11-05

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.