SOURCE: Sam Houston State University

March 11, 2010 12:24 ET

Sam Houston State University Opens New Crime Lab to Serve Southeast Texas

HUNTSVILLE, TX--(Marketwire - March 11, 2010) - The Sam Houston State University Regional Crime Laboratory, which will serve the basic needs of nearly 100 state and local law enforcement agencies from the ten counties in southeast Texas, is now open, according to university officials.

Equipment, personnel and resources are in place that will allow the laboratory, located in The Woodlands, to begin working towards laboratory accreditation by the American Society of Crime Lab Directors-Lab Accreditation Board and the Texas Department of Public Safety. 

Once the lab receives accreditation, it can start accepting evidence in criminal cases and help alleviate the burden of excessive caseloads in other regional crime labs in the state.

University officials anticipate the lab may provide forensic services in as many as 5,000 to 6,000 criminal investigations annually. The lab will also perform death investigation casework for medical examiners and provide other analytical and testimonial services to clients.

The major function of the lab will be the identification of seized drugs and toxicology analysis. Services will be provided by almost a dozen full-time forensic scientists and support staff and will offer intern opportunities to forensic science students at SHSU.

Positioning the laboratory with an academic institution has many precedents, but above all demonstrates the independent integrity of the forensic examinations that are relied upon so heavily within the courts, according to Vincent Webb, dean of the SHSU College of Criminal Justice and director of the George J. Beto Criminal Justice Center.

"The College and Center constitute one of the nation's largest programs focused on criminal justice and related areas including an accredited graduate-level program in forensic science," Webb said.

The forensic science program is operated jointly with Sam Houston State's College of Arts and Sciences and offers concentrations in toxicology, DNA, trace evidence and physical science.

Sarah Kerrigan, who has been responsible for developing and coordinating the graduate forensic science program at SHSU, is a forensic toxicologist and will serve as laboratory director.

She oversaw the operation of a government forensic laboratory in New Mexico that provided services to the Office of the Medical Investigator, state, federal and tribal law enforcement agencies coming to SHSU.

Sam Houston State University is also home to the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility, an applied research and training facility for the study of human decomposition and the criminal deposition of human bodies. It is one of only four such facilities in the United States.

Contact Information

  • Contacts:
    Julia May
    Assistant Director
    Communications
    Sam Houston State University
    Huntsville, TX 77341-2105
    Phone: 936.294.1837
    Email Contact

    Dr. Sarah Kerrigan
    Laboratory Director
    Sam Houston Regional Crime Laboratory
    8301 New Trails Dr.
    Suite 125
    The Woodlands, TX 77381
    Tel 936-294-2501
    Fax 936-294-2520
    Mobile 713 817 2229