Grits for Breakfast
Welcome to Texas justice: You might beat the rap, but you won't beat the ride.
Monday, August 01, 2011
Paycheck vs. Integrity: Houston PD lab supervisor resigns over faulty breathalyzers,
Yet another bombshell out of the Houston crime lab, as reported over the
weekend in the Houston Chronicle ("HPD crime lab faces more heat,"
July 29), this time regarding breath-alcohol tests. The story opens:
Under intense scrutiny for shoddy work during the past decade, the Houston
Police Department crime lab faced renewed criticism Thursday when a former
HPD lab supervisor dropped a bombshell, testifying she quit because she
could not trust the accuracy of breath alcohol tests from the department's
Amanda Culbertson said electrical problems including overheating in HPD's
six breath alcohol testing vans were well-documented before she and another
supervisor quit. The vans are used as satellite offices for Houston police
officers to give breath tests to suspected drunk drivers.
"We could no longer choose between a paycheck and our integrity,"
Culbertson said during a hearing in a DWI case in court-at-law judge Pam
Culbertson, who resigned in May, said she and another supervisor quit
because they could not trust the integrity of the results they use to
Culbertson testified they feared retaliation from Irma Rios, HPD's
crime lab director, for disciplining officers and civilian technicians
who did not follow strict rules to keep breath-test machines from overheating
and measuring alcohol levels inaccurately.
Rios did not respond to calls for comment. The revelations from Culbertson
follow recent reports by the Houston Chronicle about thousands of rape
kits sitting untested in the HPD property room.
Posted by Gritsforbreakfast at 7:44 AM