CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Crime lab shutdown slammed as too fast

A group of scientists told the Detroit City Council on Tuesday that the closing of the police crime lab was hasty and left a slew of employees with tarnished reputations and job uncertainty.

Cathy Carr, 50, a senior forensic biologist, said the decision to close the entire lab has left her colleagues full of paranoia and stress.

Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. and Police Chief James Barren closed the lab, which employs about 68 people, last week after a preliminary audit indicated about a 10% rate of inaccuracies related to ballistics evidence testing involving firearms.

"I was a scientist in the lab minding my own business and I got thrust out the door, so to speak," Carr said. "Being painted as incompetent and irresponsible is not going to make the job market open up for me."

The Michigan State Police are now handling all aspects of the crime lab.

Detroit Police spokesman James Tate said the future of the employees remains in limbo.

Carr, a 13-year employee, said it's unfair to blame the entire crime lab for the ballistics testing problems.

"What happens in one unit does not trickle down into what happens in all units," she said. [Mark Godsey]

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