AUSTIN (KXAN) — In July, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office sent a letter to the Forensic Sciences Department expressing concerns about “potential significant breaches,” primarily centered around material that the Forensic Sciences Department had “previously improperly withheld “.
On Wednesday, KXAN received the Department of Forensic Sciences’ response through an open records request.
The response addressed specific examples in which the Attorney General’s Office said the Forensic Sciences Division did not disclose information about specific concerns in a timely manner.
Some of the items of concern to the DA’s office that he expressed in his original letter include:
- An email from a supervisor detailing a lack of confidence in the analyst to perform his or her job duties
- Allegations of criminal behavior by employees
- Hide errors discovered by employees
- Lack of oversight, which led to evidence not entering the chain of custody for two years
According to what was reported by the agency’s Forensic Medicine Department an act Information was disclosed in some of those cases, and she expressed that in one particular case – a problem between analysts was resolved “before the report was issued, thus preventing the publication of incorrect results.”
The Department of Forensic Sciences letter included the following steps it will take and has taken to address the DA’s Office’s concerns about timely disclosure:
- Update the disclosure policy
- The practice of providing the DA’s office with initial notification of allegations of negligence or potential misconduct has been implemented
- Providing real-time access to things like proficiency test results, work permits, and suspensions
- Work on progress to provide a summary of all ongoing quality investigations
In the letter, the Department of Forensic Sciences said it “looks forward to strengthening its partnership with TCDAO and hopes this will resolve concerns.”