July 01, 2005
One question about the crime lab problems

I've scanned through the introduction to the Phase I report of the HPD Crime Lab investigaton and will try to read it all the way through soon (we're about to leave town, so don't hold me to the "soon" part) as Kevin has done, and I have a question. For all the bashing that Lee Brown and C.O. "BAMF" Bradford have taken for their role in this debacle, given that the problems cited by investigator Michael Bromwich go back as far as 1987, how much of the blame really belongs to the likes of Kathy Whitmire, Bob Lanier, Betsy Watson, and Sam Nuchia?

For example:

Moreover, and quite problematically, there has been no line supervisor over the Toxicology Section since 1992, and the line supervisor position in the DNA/Serology Section was vacant between August 1996 and December 2002, when DNA analysis at the Crime Lab was suspended.

Bob Lanier was Mayor from 1992 to 1998. Sam Nuchia was Police Chief from 1992 to 1996 (Bradford was named Chief by Lanier in November of '96).

Shockingly, the City and HPD failed to repair the roof leaks that allowed water to pour into the Crime Lab for over six years. The City and HPD were aware of problems with the roof at the 1200 Travis Street HPD headquarters building before the Crime Lab moved into the facility in 1997.

Once again, on Lanier and (partly) Nuchia's watch.

I'm not doing this to deflect blame. It's pretty clear from reading the intro that the worst problems occurred after 1997, and that puts them squarely on Brown and Bradford's shoulders. What I am saying is that those guys didn't inherit a topnotch unit to begin with, and that if there's anything to be gained by pointing a finger at people who are no longer in a position of responsibility, then we ought not to be shy about pointing it at everyone who deserves it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 01, 2005 to Crime and Punishment | TrackBack