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By Gus G. Sentementes and Gus G. Sentementes,Sun reporter | December 20, 2006
Technicians, analysts and other staffers from the Baltimore Police Department's crime lab were honored yesterday for their efforts in achieving international accreditation for one of the department's busiest divisions. Police officials said the honor from the American Society of Crime Lab Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board was a major milestone for a crucial part of the department's crimefighting efforts. More than 350 crime labs across the world have received the accreditation, officials said.
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NEWS
August 28, 2012
Whoever Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake had chosen to replace retired Baltimore City Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III would have had a tough act to follow. But in Anthony Batts, who comes to Baltimore after a 30-year career in California that included stints as police chief in Long Beach and Oakland, the mayor may have found a leader whose skills and experience match Baltimore's needs. If Mr. Batts can build on the solid accomplishments of his able predecessor, he will find a warm welcome in this city.
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NEWS
January 13, 2009
When the largest crime lab in Maryland messes up or does sloppy work, lives may be at stake. That's because the Baltimore Police Department's lab processes evidence from crime scenes that can lead to criminal charges, convictions or a guilty suspect walking free. Whether it's microscopic DNA from a bloody knife, fingerprints or bullet slugs, evidence must be carefully collected and preserved and the samples tested in accordance with the highest scientific and research practices. Confidence in lab results depends on the integrity of the process.
NEWS
By Peter Hermann | April 26, 2012
"I hope my baby is dead. " These are the chilling words from a mother who is now charged with repeatedly stabbing her 8-month-old child during a supervised visit with a social service's worker. The account comes from police charging documents filed in court that detail the horrific incident. Social workers rushed to help the child, and one threw a chair at her, forcing her to drop the baby, the knife still in her neck. One worker told police she confronted the suspect as she held her daughter on a table with one hand and the knife in the other.
NEWS
By Michael James and Michael James,Staff writer | October 14, 1990
Lisa Smith quit her job as an FBI forensics expert two months ago to come work in the Howard County police crime lab, a career move that wouldn't have made sense 10 years ago.But Smith, 24, a former mortician's apprentice and an up-and-comer in the forensic crime field, is making more money, her commute is cut in half and she joins three other former FBI specialists in the county crime lab.With Smith's arrival Aug. 20, four of the crime lab's seven civilian...
NEWS
By PETER HERMANN and PETER HERMANN,peter.hermann@baltsun.com | February 22, 2009
The crime lab technician, Evana Hebb, fingerprinted India Mouton, a 10th-grader from Dunbar High. All five fingers on her right hand rubbed in black ink and pressed hard onto a white sheet of paper in a garage at the headquarters of the Baltimore Police Department. It's part of a monthlong lesson for teenagers at city recreation centers on the criminal justice system - they are following a mock murder from corpse to trial - but for this 15-year-old student, it's the start of what she hopes will be a career as a scientist investigating crime.
NEWS
August 24, 2008
A BIG-CITY CRIME LAB DISCOVERS EVIDENCE IN ITS CUSTODY has been tainted by DNA from its own technicians. CSI script writers couldn't have crafted a more authentic plot -- it's playing out right now at the Baltimore Police Department. Call this episode: Sloppy Police Work. City crime lab director Edgar Koch got the ax last week because of the mix-up, which was discovered by a lab supervisor who was new to the job. She saw what others missed - DNA samples taken from lab analysts, a standard practice to check for contamination, hadn't been logged into the DNA database.
NEWS
By Ryan Davis and Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF | August 17, 2004
A dozen new employees started work in the city police crime lab yesterday, bolstering an effort to catch up on a backlog of more than 3,000 unsolved rape and homicide cases where DNA testing could prove helpful. The positions are being funded through a $1.9 million National Institute of Justice grant, passed through the Maryland State Police to the Baltimore Police Department. Before yesterday, two people in the crime lab were assigned the duty of screening current and old cases to determine if evidence should be sent for DNA testing.
NEWS
By Laura Barnhardt and Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF | August 7, 2001
Anne Arundel County Police Department's crime lab accreditation is like one of those report cards worth framing. The facility has been producing high-quality work for years, said crime lab director Jane Cooke, but the accreditation "confirms, in writing, the good quality of our work." The accreditation certificate from the American Society of Crime Lab Directors will be presented today during a ceremony at Anne Arundel Community College. In addition to County Executive Janet S. Owens and police Chief P. Thomas Shanahan, Indiana State Police Maj. Robert Conley, director of the society, is to speak about the lab's excellence.
NEWS
By Julie Bykowicz and Julie Bykowicz,julie.bykowicz@baltsun.com | September 7, 2008
Forensic evidence - DNA on a victim, gunshot residue on a hand, fingerprints on a weapon - holds a special place in courtrooms, often treated as irrefutable proof that police have nabbed the bad guy. But the labs processing that prized evidence can sometimes become the suspects. Last month, the Baltimore Police Department disclosed that its lab employees were leaving their own DNA on crime scene evidence. Lab director Edgar Koch lost his job because of the contamination, which had gone unidentified for years because the lab didn't take the basic step of cataloging employee DNA in a database.
NEWS
By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun | September 27, 2011
The Baltimore Police Department is taking part in a program to develop and test new technology that could significantly cut DNA analysis time. The National Institute of Justice is putting $1 million toward the project. Police will partner with researchers from Yale University and a North Carolina-based company to develop technology that would enable crime lab workers to identify and test smaller samples in a much shorter time. The technology is at least a year away from being usable and won't be implemented for cases during the pilot phase, but officials hope it will be cleared for use if successful.
NEWS
By Nick Madigan, The Baltimore Sun | September 30, 2010
After 13 days of testimony from more than two-dozen witnesses and reams of often-complex evidence, the jury hearing the case against three men accused of killing former Baltimore Councilman Kenneth N. Harris is set to begin deliberations Friday. Both sides vigorously defended their cases in closing arguments Thursday. The death of Harris, one defense lawyer said, was "the murder of the century in this city. " From the prosecution's perspective, the case against Gary Collins, 22, Jerome Williams, 17, and Charles McGaney, 22, is rock-solid, backed by DNA evidence recovered near the scene of the crime.
NEWS
By Nick Madigan, The Baltimore Sun | September 27, 2010
Enduring a barrage of highly detailed scientific testimony, jurors in the Kenneth N. Harris murder trial appeared to have difficulty staying awake Monday during a long cross-examination of a DNA analyst. Lawyers defending three men charged in the former Baltimore councilman's killing two years ago directed a stream of questions at the state's witness, Kelly Miller, a DNA analyst with the Police Department's crime lab, who had testified that evidence at the crime scene came into contact with the defendants.
NEWS
By Nick Madigan, The Baltimore Sun | September 24, 2010
The case against three men standing trial in the death of former City Councilman Kenneth N. Harris continued Friday with the testimony of a police crime lab specialist. Richard Remy, a 31-year-old criminalist in serology at the Police Department's crime lab, spent hours on the witness stand providing compelling and even cheerful testimony on matters often considered tedious and arcane. His command of the facts earned him a degree of deference. "I compliment you — it's beyond thorough the amount of work you've put into this," Jason E. Silverstein, who represents defendant Charles Y. McGaney, told the witness, who had explained at considerable length how he obtained samples of skin cells and other microscopic matter from several items found at and near the scene of the Sept.
NEWS
By Tricia Bishop | tricia.bishop@baltsun.com | March 14, 2010
More than a year after an internal audit highlighted widespread deficiencies within the Baltimore Police Department's crime lab, the division has a backlog of thousands of analysis requests. The problem has forced city prosecutors to drop or postpone cases - including the high-profile trial of serial drunken driver Thomas Meighan Jr., accused of killing a Johns Hopkins University student in a hit-and-run. And it could get worse. New regulatory requirements are coming that will place more demands on an already stressed lab. The holdups mean "justice suffers," along with victims, the community and defendants, who "deserve to be tried in a speedy fashion," said Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy.
NEWS
January 5, 2010
The annual discussion of Baltimore's homicide count is well under way, with questions about how our numbers stack up next to the declines seen in many other big cities last year, comparisons of fatal versus nonfatal shootings, and the ever-apt assessment that no matter what the total is, it's too high. But it is worth reflecting on one fact that tends to be overlooked: Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III has presided over the longest sustained drop in homicides of any of Baltimore's top cops in the last decade.
NEWS
By Del Quentin Wilber and Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF | April 8, 2003
A top-ranking Baltimore police official criticized yesterday comments by a spokeswoman for the city state's attorney's office suggesting police were not properly correcting problems in the department's crime lab. "I regret that [the issue of tests for suspected drugs] has to be dealt with in this way," said Chief Edwin Day, commander of the department's detective division. "The only people who get hurt in this are the people of Baltimore." Day was responding to an article in yesterday's Sun that reported statistics showing city prosecutors were dropping an increasing number of drug cases because the crime lab was not providing them with basic test results.
NEWS
By Kris Antonelli and Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF | May 23, 1997
Aggressive, street-level policing in Baltimore County has brought an unexpected result: a backlog of 1,800 drug cases in the crime lab.Despite two years of long hours and overtime pay, the lab remains swamped.And the flow of new cases is likely to continue as the department uses specialized patrol teams to clean up drug violations and other nuisance crimes.To reduce the backlog, county officials plan to spend about $50,000 to have Baltimore City technicians process 30 to 50 county cases a week in the city's lab.After working overtime for as long as two years, some of the county's eight chemists "have gotten tired and need a break," said Karen L. Irish, director of the Forensic Investigation Division.
NEWS
December 15, 2009
Four police crime labs in Maryland will receive $1.2 million in federal stimulus funding. Gov. Martin O'Malley announced Monday that state police as well as police in Baltimore City and Montgomery and Prince George' counties will receive funding for their DNA crime labs. State police and the Baltimore Police Department will receive about $375,000, while Montgomery County will receive $275,000 and Prince George's County will receive about $210,000. - Associated Press
NEWS
By Justin Fenton and Justin Fenton,justin.fenton@baltsun.com | April 22, 2009
The Baltimore Police Department's head of criminal investigations is stepping down, the latest shake-up of the agency's top leadership. Officials confirmed that Col. John M. Bevilacqua - who oversees high-profile investigative units, including the homicide, district detective and sex offense divisions, as well as the crime lab - has decided to retire after 29 years with the Police Department, expressing a desire to spend more time with his family....
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