Municipal Courts

Public Information Office: Press Releases

HFSC's First CEO and President Dies after Battle with Cancer

June 1, 2020 -- Dr. Dan Garner, the Houston Forensic Science Center’s first CEO and president, died in his North Carolina home with his family by his side. He was 72.

HFSC’s board of directors under chairman Scott Hochberg hired Dr. Garner in 2013 to oversee the transition to independence of HPD’s crime lab, crime scene unit and parts of its identification unit. HFSC assumed managerial and operational responsibility over those services in April 2014 under Dr. Garner’s leadership.

Dr. Garner held the post of CEO and president until Dec. 31, 2016. The board of directors appointed Dr. Peter Stout, who had been HFSC’s COO and vice-president, to replace Dr. Garner. Dr. Stout remains CEO and president of HFSC.

Dr. Garner played a crucial role in ensuring the smooth transition of Houston’s forensic services from law enforcement management to a civilian agency. He oversaw implementation of new processes and procedures, as well as guided six of HFSC’s seven disciplines to accreditation under international standards.

"We will never forget Dr. Garner's contributions to the forensic science community and the reparation of Houston's crime lab. Houston was fortunate to have enjoyed some of his leadership at a crucial time for our forensic agency. He built a strong foundation that the HFSC is standing on today. I extend my condolences and prayers to Dr. Garner's family," said Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Dr. Garner joined HFSC after a more than 40-year-long forensic career. He had previously served as chief of the forensic services section of the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program, a component of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. He also had been president of Cellmark Diagnostics Inc., which he helped transform into a market leader in forensic DNA testing. Dr. Garner began his career in the Forensic Science Laboratory of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

“Dr. Garner’s steady, measured approach in those first crucial years helped ensure the transition for Houston’s crime lab from a division of law enforcement to an independent, civilian agency,” Dr. Stout said. “That transition set the stage for HFSC’s current success and continued progress.”

Dr. Garner is survived by his wife, his son and daughter and their spouses and his five grandchildren.

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 of Houston and confirmed by the Houston 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 and prosecutorial branches of government.

HFSC operates in seven forensic disciplines.