Metro Nashville Police Department lobbied for it’s own crime lab. Supported by former Mayor Karl Dean, it was funded. Now blood alcohol reports are being generated by the lab. The key question is whether having a forensic crime lab run by the same folks who are prosecuting the crime create an inherent conflict of interest. Secondly, does having the same lab as the police department create a bias in reporting ?
In 2009 , the National Academy of Sciences released a study on Strengthening Forensic Science in the United states. The study dealt with the entire field of forensic science. One area of study was the independence of forensic science laboratories. One finding was that a system where the crime lab reported to the head of the law enforcement arm leads to significant concerns related to the independence of the laboratory.
One of the recommendations to maximize independence from law enforcement was to remove all public forensic laboratories from the administrative control of law enforcement agencies or prosecutors’ offices.
Before the opening of the Metro Nashville crime lab, most forensic science duties were performed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. At least there was a level of independence in that there agents were not actively prosecuting the cases. All current blood alcohol tests in DUI cases are being performed by the Metro crime lab. Nashville was aware of the forensic science report yet put the forensic crime lab in operation. The big question is whether the lab is independent or biased in its reports.