Funding granted for HPD fingerprint lab

December 16, 2009 10:08:47 AM PST
City council members have approved funding to fix problems within the Houston Police Department's fingerprinting lab. A random review of cases found technicians often thought fingerprints weren't good enough to provide identifications when they were good enough. We're talking about a $2.9 million long-term contract to hire a consultant to come in and essentially help fix the problems at HPD's fingerprint lab. A critique of the lab found inadequate training, staffing and funding.

HPD initially requested $4 million to fix the problems -- a request that made several city council members extremely angry, given the current state of the economy and the fact that the city is now looking to tighten its belt on spending.

An internal investigation into what went wrong at the lab has been launched. As of right now, there's no evidence that someone has been unfairly convicted based on faulty fingerprint evidence.

In the wake of this scandal, three lab employees have been relieved from duty with pay and one temporary employee has been fired.