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May 19, 2021
The Houston Forensic Science Center has appointed Carina Haynes, a crime scene
expert with 12 years of experience, as the new director of the crime scene unit.
Ms. Haynes, the first African-American and woman to hold this position at HFSC,
replaces Jerry Pena, who is retiring effective June 4 after five years as director of CSU.
“HFSC’s crime scene unit has made enormous strides under Jerry’s leadership,
including civilianizing and achieving international accreditation, and we could not have
made this much progress without him,” said Dr. Peter Stout, HFSC’s CEO and
“Carina, with her extraordinary focus on quality and vast knowledge in the crime scene
investigation field, will now lead the unit to the next chapter, which includes a muchneeded expansion to better serve Houston’s needs,” he added.
Ms. Haynes joined HFSC in January 2017 as a supervisor and since January has served
as CSU’s acting director. Ms. Haynes joined HFSC after nine years in North Carolina
with the Durham Police Department’s crime scene unit, where she started as a crime
scene investigator and eventually became the unit’s supervisor.
“While I am here today because of years of hard work and determination, I know I have
also benefited from the leadership, mentorship and guidance of those who came before
me and I look forward to providing that same support to others that come after me _
both as a crime scene investigator and a Black woman,” Ms. Haynes said.
Ms. Haynes will focus in the next year on expanding CSU as it continues a five-year
plan to double its size and increase the unit’s efficiency and quality, in part by
introducing new technologies.
“More than 75 percent of HFSC’s 200-plus staff are women and it is crucial our
management and leadership team not only reflect that reality but also provide the next
generation with the confidence and assurance that we will do everything we can to
shatter glass ceilings here,” said Dr. Stout.
“And while I am pleased with where we are now, I know we must do more to ensure
the diversity and inclusivity of our staff. This will be part of our focus in the coming
years as we continue to make HFSC a model crime lab for the nation and one that best
reflects and serves our community,” Dr. Stout added.
Currently, five of HFSC’s six forensic discipline managers are women and, with Ms.
Haynes’ promotion, six of the nine-member executive team are also women.
HFSC is a local government corporation that provides forensic services to the City of
Houston and other local agencies. HFSC is overseen by a board of directors appointed
by the mayor and confirmed by city council. Its management structure is designed to be
responsive to a 2009 recommendation by the National Academy of Sciences that called
for crime laboratories to be independent of law enforcement.
HFSC operates in seven forensic disciplines.
Ramit Plushnick-Masti
Director of Communications/PIO
713-703-4898 (cell)
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