AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is proud to recognize the hardworking men and women of the DPS Crime Laboratory Division during National Forensic Science Week, which takes place from Sept. 18-24. The week aims to highlight the critical forensic science work taking place in labs across the country, including the 16 DPS crime labs that serve the state of Texas criminal justice system.
“The work happening in DPS labs across the state is truly remarkable,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “From creating new testing methods to finding ways to work more efficiently, we are proud of their efforts that help solve cases and ultimately make Texas a safer place for all.”
Over the past year, there were several positive crime lab developments, including:
- Approximately 600 unsolved cases were aided through HB 1399 (86th Legislature) in the last year alone. HB 1399 requires the collection of DNA samples from people arrested for certain felonies. The samples are run through the CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) Laboratory in Austin and entered into a database to check for possible DNA matches between those arrestees and unsolved cases across the country.
- DPS Labs across the state reduced turnaround times for sexual assault kits to under 90 calendar days, on average. Furthermore, the sexual assault evidence-tracking program allows sexual assault survivors to anonymously track and receive updates on the status and progress of evidence.
- In the last year, DPS began testing older sexual assault kits that had previously never been submitted to a crime laboratory and had had been stored, untested, in property rooms across the state.
- DPS developed a new process for determining the THC content in liquids and oils; the testing of these case types resumed Sept. 1, 2022, following a pause after the passage of the Texas Hemp Act of 2019.
- The turnaround time for analysis of blood alcohol content in driving under the influence cases remains at or under 30 calendar days from time of submission.
For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, DPS crime labs will be open for tours this year.
Please contact the individual laboratory for tour times and availability in the following regions:
- North Texas Region
- Garland – Thursday 9/22
- Tyler – Wednesday 9/21
- Southeast Texas Region
- Houston – Thursday 9/22
- South Texas Region
- Corpus Christi – Tuesday 9/20
- Laredo – Monday 9/19
- Weslaco – Wednesday 9/21
- West Texas Region
- El Paso – Friday 9/23
- Northwest Texas Region
- Abilene – Thursday 9/22
- Amarillo – Tuesday 9/20
- Lubbock – Thursday 9/22
- Central Texas Region
- Austin – Tuesday 9/20
- Waco – Monday 9/19
Please note, labs will not be open for routine customer evidence submission on these dates.
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