TULSA POLICE Crime Lab one of the best in the state

Wednesday, May 9th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The Oklahoma City crime lab where Joyce Gilchrist worked is one of only two municipal crime labs in the entire state. Tulsa Police have the other. KOTV's Sean Mossman toured the Tulsa Police Crime Lab.

The changing face of forensic science is often hard to keep up with. But the scientists inside the Tulsa lab are considered some of the most reliable in the state. Mark Boese has been director of the Tulsa Police Forensic Lab for just more than a year. He thinks he's got the most reliable lab in the entire state. His scientists are not the flashy crime fighters viewers of the hit CBS series CSI might imagine. "We get evidence first. Determine whether or not it has any use or can be used for identity purpose, such as DNA. Then we ask for samples from suspects and victims or anybody that came into contact with that victim." The majority of cases worked by the lab involve drugs. They'll work to identify suspects and testify in murder cases, but that doesn't happen nearly as often as the public may think.

Boese says he's carefully watching the controversy surrounding Oklahoma City Scientist Joyce Gilchrist. He says the Tulsa lab has never been proven wrong. He doesn't mind being second-guessed by defendants, even though he's sure it will get them nowhere. "But it's a lot better to have somebody who's not guilty be proven to be innocent than to have them remain in jail." Tulsa Defense attorney Wes Johnson has tried about thirty murder cases and even questioned Tulsa police scientists. He's a leader in the movement for better state training of scientists. Johnson says he holds the Tulsa lab in high regard. "It's a pretty well equipped laboratory. I think the city should be proud of that. They need to constantly monitor and listen to the director and the scientists down there." Johnson says the lab needs a few equipment upgrades, but overall it's the best in the state.

The Tulsa lab's director says there are several equipment changes on the way, including links to federal gun and DNA databases. There could be a very big feather in the cap of the lab here soon. It's trying to become the only state lab with national accreditation. A move that Attorney Wes Johnson applauds.