The D.C. Council is considering a bill to make the city's crime lab independent from the police department.
The bills sponsor, Councilmember Phil Mendelson, says creating an independent department of forensic sciences will put to rest any concerns of bias or conflict-of-interest that may arise when police are charged with analyzing their own evidence.
"We want it to be science-based, and we want it to be independent, so that we have the best evidence when prosecutors are prosecuting," Mendelson says.
To make his case, Mendelson says one just needs to look at the current controversy involving the police department's faulty intoxilyzer machines that were used to help convict drunk drivers. He says some of these cases are now in jeopardy of being thrown out.
Right now, the city is building a state-of-the art, $200 million forensics laboratory in Southwest Washington. It's scheduled to be up and running by the end of the year.