Law Enforcement

Project Role

Police agencies are positioned to utilize forensic evidence in order to hold offenders accountable and facilitate the victim healing process. Like Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs), officers and investigators are often first responders following a sexual assault and can set the tone for how an investigation will unfold. Testing forensic evidence in greater numbers of cases is not an end point. It is the beginning of a process that involves investigative time and resources. Houston Police Department (HPD) investigative units are responsible for re-investigating sexual assault cases when forensic evidence from older cases is tested. 

The HPD applied for and received the grant that supports this action-research project. The HPD crime laboratory and sex crimes investigative units have collaborated with project stakeholders to identify areas in need of attention and then respond with reforms. For example, investigators provided valuable information to researchers about the nature of their work, the way they use forensic evidence, and the nature of sexual assaults. The HPD has also launched new initiatives in response to research findings, including new training opportunities for sex crimes investigators.

Contact Information

Matt Slinkard
Assistant Chief
Houston Police Department

Mary Lentschke
Assistant Chief of East Patrol
Houston Police Department

Dana Hitzman
Captain, Special Victims Division
Houston Police Department

Sheryl Victorian
Lieutenant, Special Victims Division
Houston Police Department

Jacinda Gunter
Lieutenant, Special Victims Division
Houston Police Department