Published on: Friday, May 28, 2021

A coding error at the NYPD’s drug laboratory caused incorrect numbers to show up in the facility’s printed reports on tests for controlled substances — and the mishap went undetected for five years (article available here).

The mishap, which began in the fall of 2016 and continued until March 2021, prompted a “full review” by the police lab and the formation of a committee to find out what caused the bungle, according to a letter recently filed in a Brooklyn federal criminal case by Dr. Scott O’Neill, the director of the lab.

The NYPD, state prosecutors and federal prosecutors — all of which use evidence from the lab to investigate and prosecute criminal drug cases — insist the error did not affect the lab’s ability to accurately detect controlled substances. A spokesperson for the city’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office said the mishap will not affect their cases — but they are still disclosing it to defense attorneys.