At her press conference following a brief City Council meeting Wednesday August 14, Mayor Annise Parker, accompanied by Scott Hochberg, and the other members of the Board of Houston Forensic Sciences, introduced Daniel Garner as the choice for the first President and CEO of the non-profit organization.
Garner brings was selected unanimously after a six-month selection process. He has served in public and private sector services, and has a range of scientific and management achievements in DNA analysis. He has also assisted forensic labs in 30 countries, assessing levels of competence and methods of achiieving professional scienttific standards.
According to the Mayor's press release, “Houston Forensic Science Board Chair Scott Hochberg believes that Dr. Garner brings "an amazing combination of skills and experience" to the organization. "Our board spent many hours discussing what would be important in a new CEO: scientific expertise, commercial experience, leadership ability, government background, and other qualities," Hochberg said. "With Dr. Garner, we got it all."
“I am impressed with the exhaustive search conducted to find Dr. Garner,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “His background and credentials make him the perfect choice to implement the vision of an independent crime lab.”
Dr. Garner has most recently led the U.S. Department of Justice's efforts to improve forensic science activities in foreign countries. His work took him to more than thirty countries on five continents, where he conducted assessments of forensic laboratories, developed plans to improve their capabilities, and managed implementation of those plans.
Prior to his international work, Dr. Garner served as President of Cellmark Diagnostics, Inc., a leading commercial provider of DNA analysis services. Under Dr. Garner's leadership, Cellmark's lab became the first commercial laboratory to achieve accreditation by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD-LAB), while at the same time reducing turnaround times and operational costs.
Before his years at Cellmark, Dr. Garner managed the forensic laboratory for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, where he similarly led their efforts to become the first federal laboratory to earn ASCLD-LAB accreditation.”
The Houston Forensic Sciences Board was meeting at the City Hall Annex this morning. With the selection of Dr. Garner, the organization can proceed to select the remainder of the staff and establish its annual budget.
As the mayor, Mr. Garner, and Mr. Hochberg explained, the Crime lab and other forensic services are still operated by the Houston Police Department. However, the board of Houston Forensic Sciences has been working closely with HPD, observing procedures and preparing the complex transfer of control when the LSG is fully staffed. Hochberg also stated that the process will require advice and supervision from the legal department so that custody and control of evidence follows rules of evidence.