Travis County judges sign letter calling for Austin to open an independent DNA lab that is separate from the police department

Earlier this year, an audit was highly critical of the Austin Police Department DNA lab, alleging that researchers were not following the manufacturer’s instructions while using a certain lab chemical, were using outdated and unreliable techniques, and had contaminated a sample in at least one sexual assault case. The lab has since closed and Travis officials have been sending samples to the Texas Department of Public Safety for testing. However, there have been significant backlogs and slow turnaround times with Texas DPS, and officials will begin sending samples to two independent labs this month. Judges are now calling for Austin to open its own lab that will be independent from the Austin Police Department.

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