Updated: Saturday, 24 Jul 2010, 9:34 AM CDT
Published : Friday, 09 Jul 2010, 8:51 AM CDT
AUSTIN (KXAN) - The man in charge of the Austin Police Department's DNA lab is very proud of his facility.
"The Austin Police Department operates one of the finest, if not the finest DNA laboratory in the country," said APD's Chief of Field Support Services Ed Harris.
Fully staffed the lab is home to four DNA analyst and one supervisor. In 2008, the last numbers available, those five employees analyzed 475 cases. Each one taking roughly 50 hours to complete.
"DNA is very important. It's very sensitive and you can't have anyone out there questioning the credibility of any analyst conducting DNA in this lab or any other lab in the country," said Harris.
One DNA analyst who use to work in the lab, Cecily Hamilton, has made allegations questioning the training of another employee. She resigned her position earlier this year.
"Everyday in the public and private sector, in every discipline in the country, you have disgruntled employees that make allegations and that's what these are, they are allegations," Harris said.
Allegations that he says are purely personal and have nothing to do with the quality of work being done at the lab.
"No where does she ever question any of the analyst work that has been done on any case or any evidence that has come through this lab," said Harris.
Harris also said he has no problem allowing investigators inside his lab for another review. In recent years, the Houston Police Department's crime lab faced a significant review of its practices and procedures, with reports accusing lab staff of tailoring lab results to fit police theories.
"The DNA lab is the only unit that undergoes scrutiny by four five or six different independent agencies every year. We have nothing to hide and in fact we welcome another independent investigation," Harris said.
The Austin Police Department nor the Travis County District Attorney could provide a cost estimate for the independent review.
A private DNA company says they charge $2000 on average to look over the paperwork of a single case.