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DNA Section Supervisor on Board at HPD

September 28, 2005 -- Houston Police Crime Lab Director Irma Rios is pleased to announce the selection of a DNA Technical Manager to head the lab’s DNA section.

Vanessa Nelson, most recently a DNA analyst in the Harris County Medical Examiner’s office, assumed her duties over the operations of the DNA section in the HPD Crime Lab on September 5. “I am extremely excited to accept this opportunity and welcome the challenge to help build the Houston Police Department’s Crime Lab into one that will eventually serve as a model for other labs to follow,” said Ms. Nelson.

Prior to her duties at the medical examiner’s office, Ms. Nelson worked as a DNA Section supervisor at the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab in 2003 and 2004. She was promoted to section supervisor after working in the DPS lab as a criminalist the three previous years. Ms. Nelson earned a doctorate of philosophy in medical sciences from Texas A&M University in 2000 after graduating cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in biomedical science in 1996 at A&M.

Ms. Rios said Ms. Nelson was chosen over a number of candidates in a nationwide search and after an extensive review of her background. “Vanessa brings experience, professionalism, a work ethic, and communication skills that I believe are going to bring credibility and public trust back to one of the most important sections in our lab,” Ms. Rios added. “This hiring is a major step in the goal to achieve accreditation in the DNA section by the end of this year or early 2006,” said Ms. Rios.

On May 10 of this year, the HPD Crime Lab was granted national accreditation in five of six areas of the lab, with the DNA section in the process of restoring DNA testing to meet standards for accreditation from the American Society of Crime Lab Directors-Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD-LAB).

JFC/IR/RMM 9-28-05

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