New York County Crime Lab On Probation, Proposes Fixes


The door of the Nassau County, N.Y., crime laboratory’s fingerprint examination room – found unlatched when an inspector visited in November – now closes automatically, and staff members need a code to get in, reports Newsday. Drugs that were not being inventoried properly now are stored in vials with bar codes, allowing technicians to track drugs carefully as they are being tested.

A month after a national accrediting organization put the crime lab on probation for failing to meet 25 “essential” or “important” protocols, the lab’s new director, Pasquale Buffolino, wrote to that organization’s board explaining his plans for fixing the problems. The crime lab, part of the police department, was put on probation Dec. 3, making it the only one of nearly 400 labs in the U.S. on probation. It is the second time since 2006 that the lab had been put on probation. Det. Lt. James Granelle, who had been the lab’s director since 2003, was reassigned after revelations of problems at the lab. The lapses cited by the accreditation agency could call into question evidence used to prosecute defendants in past and current criminal cases, and already has led to at least one legal motion seeking to dismiss cases or overturn convictions

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