The Houston Police Department (HPD) Crime Lab Stakeholder Committee announced today that Michael R. Bromwich, an attorney who heads the internal investigations, compliance and monitoring practice group at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, has been recommended as the lab’s independent investigator. If approved by City Council and the Houston Police Department, Mr. Bromwich will be responsible for overseeing a comprehensive review of the HPD’s Crime Laboratory.
The Houston Police Department Crime Lab Stakeholder Committee, which is comprised of attorneys, scientists, academics, civil rights advocates and public officials, selected Mr. Bromwich after considering several proposals and conducting extensive interviews of the firms and organizations seeking this post.
Currently the Independent Monitor of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department, Mr. Bromwich will bring substantial law enforcement oversight experience to his role with the HPD. In Washington, he is overseeing the police department’s compliance with a use-of-force agreement between the District of Columbia, MPD and the Department of Justice. From 1994 to 1999, he served as Inspector General of the Justice Department, where he spearheaded the activities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration, among other federal law enforcement agencies. In addition, Mr. Bromwich performed an investigation into allegations of misconduct and incompetence at the FBI crime lab. Prior to his appointment as Inspector General, Mr. Bromwich served as a federal prosecutor for seven years in New York and Washington, DC.
Once selected as project leader of the HPD Crime Lab investigation, Mr. Bromwich will lead a team of lawyers, forensic scientists, and police crime lab experts in performing an independent investigation of the lab. The review of the HPD crime lab will involve a comprehensive examination of its operations and practices in certain forensic disciplines as well as the maintenance and security of evidence in the HPD’s property room.
Some of the most prominent members of the police crime lab and forensic science communities from across North America have joined Mr. Bromwich’s team, including a former president and several former board members of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, the organization responsible for auditing and accrediting crime laboratories. Mr. Bromwich will be advised by a committee comprised of three renowned forensic scientists - Douglas M. Lucas, the retired Director of the Centre of Forensic Sciences of the Province of Ontario, Canada and past president of ASCLD, will serve as Chairman of the Advisory Committee. Margaret Kuo, a 27 year veteran with the Orange County Sheriff Coroner’s Office, where she retired as Deputy Director of Forensic Services. Bruce W. Vander Kolk is the former Commander of the Illinois State Forensic Sciences Command.