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October 3, 2014
Ramit Plushnick-Masti
Public Information Officer
The Houston Forensic Science Center has been awarded $78,374 through the Coverdell National
Forensic Sciences Improvement Act to purchase an additional comparison microscope. This
microscope, the primary tool used by firearms examiners when they examine fired bullets and
cartridge cases, fuses two microscopes into one, enabling analysts to compare two pieces of
evidence simultaneously.
With this purchase, HFSC will have eight comparison microscopes, enabling examiners to
efficiently investigate firearms used in crimes and link incidents when applicable.
“This microscope, one of the most important tools in our trade, will allow HFSC’s Firearms
Section to work more productively, quickly and efficiently,” said Darrell Stein, manager of the
Firearms Section.
The federal funds for this microscope are administered through Governor Rick Perry’s Criminal
Justice Division.
HFSC’s Firearms Section receives about 3,500 requests for analyses annually and leads the state
in number of entries into the ballistic imaging system, IBIS. This imaging system, containing
images of fired cartridge cases submitted by law enforcement, allows examiners to link firearms
between crimes, assisting police investigations. HFSC’s Firearms Section has linked more than
3,500 investigations not previously known to be related, making it one of the most successful
firearms sections in the country.
The lab, formerly known as the Houston Police Department Crime Lab, has been managed by
Houston Forensic Science Center, Inc., since April 3, 2014.
HFSC is overseen by a board of directors appointed by the Mayor of Houston and approved by
the Houston City Council. HFSC manages the independent forensic laboratory that includes
what was previously the HPD’s crime lab and crime scene unit. HFSC currently operates in eight
forensic disciplines and is expanding.
Further information regarding HFSC is available at