Sunday, April 22, 2007
From nytimes.com: With the disclosure that two civilian employees reported false results in testing drug bags in 2002 at the police crime laboratory, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly has ordered a shakeup of the Forensic Investigations Division and the creation of an oversight panel, the authorities said yesterday.
The changes come as a rebuke to the forensic unit’s former commander, Deputy Chief Denis McCarthy, who was recently transferred to a patrol division.
Chief McCarthy, a 27-year veteran of the department, was in charge in 2002 when the two employees were found to have engaged in “dry-labbing,” or cutting corners in the process of testing for drugs during an internal integrity test conducted by the department. In addition, the forensics unit failed to report the transgression to state officials and to a national laboratory accreditation board, as it is required to do.
Chief McCarthy’s transfer and the 2002 drug testing falsification were reported yesterday by The New York Post. Mr. Kelly said that Inspector Kevin J. Walsh, formerly of the Counter-Terrorism Bureau, had replaced Chief McCarthy as commander of the forensics division.
A spokesman for the Police Department, Paul J. Browne, said the falsified test results in 2002 had no bearing on actual court cases, since they were revealed in a routine procedure of “blind proficiency tests” designed as internal checks on the integrity and competence of civilian criminalists, 100 of whom are now employed by the crime laboratory.
But some critics are not convinced that it is an isolated incident. Peter Neufeld, a lawyer and co-founder of the Innocence Project, a New York-based legal group that uses DNA evidence to represent people it believes have been wrongly convicted, said it was unclear how many cases were affected in New York and elsewhere by such falsified lab work. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]