The New Orleans Police Department will have a fully-functioning DNA lab in 18 months, according to NOPD Capt. Michael Pfeiffer, who made the commitment at this morning's COMSTAT meeting. The city could give no timeline for reopening a DNA lab when Gambit asked the question last week.
Pfeiffer is the department's crime liaison following the resignation of crime lab manager Anna Duggar last month. The lab is now rehiring DNA technical consultant Anne Montgomery as its manager. Montgomery established the city's first DNA lab in 2001 before Hurricane Katrina.
Montgomery and Duggar, are both quoted in this week's Gambit story on the subject: Five years after Hurricane Katrina, the department still has no DNA lab, even the the city has dedicated funds to build one.
Pfeiffer said Montgomery now plans to review the city's request for proposals to ensure that the city is still seeking the most up to date equipment before reissuing the bid. The last bid was rejected by Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration earlier this year on unavoidable technical grounds after a supplier in California unwittingly included the price of shipping a mere $3,000.
In the meantime, investigations and prosecutions of rape and murder cases have been delayed, leaving some of New Orleans' most dangerous criminals including possible serial rapists out on the streets.