GOV. MALLOY: DR. GUY VALLARO APPOINTED DIRECTOR OF STATE CRIME LAB
Crime Lab's Reorganization will Lead to Increase in Efficiency & Handling of Workload
(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Department of Emergency Services & Public Protection Commissioner Reuben Bradford today announced that Dr. Guy Vallaro of Sutton, Massachusetts has been appointed to serve as Director of the Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory, the state office responsible for most of the forensic testing related to criminal investigations in the State of Connecticut.
Dr. Vallaro, a nationally renowned expert in forensic sciences, currently serves as Director of the state forensic laboratory for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He was recommended following a nationwide search by a committee established by Commissioner Bradford and will begin the position on December 28.
"A decade of neglect led to the unwelcome news last year that the state crime lab's accreditation had been withdrawn. Evidence processing backlogs had become a major problem for Connecticut's prosecutors and police. This was not fair to them, and was a betrayal of our state's commitment to victims of crime. Dr. Vallaro is the perfect leader to restore our lab to what it once was: the envy of the nation," Governor Malloy said. "With the recent reorganization of administrative functions, new protocols, and the appointment of Dr. Vallaro as its Director, Connecticut will have the best crime lab in the country."
As a result of legislation signed into law by Governor Malloy in June that reorganized its administrative functions, the state crime lab now functions independent of the Connecticut State Police, and the position of Director will report directly to the DESPP Commissioner, similar to the rank of a deputy commissioner.
As Director of the Massachusetts crime lab, Dr. Vallaro is credited with streamlining operations and maximizing productivity. He previously held several prominent positions with the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center Department of Hospital Laboratories, including as the Vice President of Clinical Laboratories and Vice Chairman of Hospital Laboratories.
"I am honored to have been chosen to lead the fine staff of the Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory," Dr. Vallaro said. "My first priority will be to reduce current backlogs while providing the highest quality forensic services in support of all the stakeholders in the criminal justice system."
In 2011, calling a backlog that stretched over a number of years at the Connecticut state crime lab "unacceptable," Governor Malloy created a working group of key stakeholders and experts and tasked them with developing both short and long-term strategies to bolster the lab's ability to deal with an unprecedented increase in its workload. Shortly after the lab lost its accreditation, the Governor announced that funding had been authorized to increase staffing, and the lab's accreditation was restored in February.
The working group has since recommended protocols limiting the submission of evidence to the lab, which took effect in January and has resulted in a 42% reduction in evidence submissions. The group also recommended additional staffing be included in the FY2013 budget, which ultimately was approved and includes 48 new positions, including 15 positions previously funded through federal grants, 19 others already hired, and 14 more over the next year.
"Guy Vallaro is the seasoned senior-level laboratory executive who can meet the challenges confronting our state forensic laboratory," Commissioner Bradford said. "This process could not have been accomplished without the support from the Governor and the hard work and dedication provided by the members of the working group, chaired by Mike Lawlor. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to Mike Wolf for serving as interim lab director, and Dr. Fred Bieber and Joe Bono for their expertise as consultants along with Steve Spellman, Diane Benedetto, William Podgorski and all of our dedicated lab personnel."
Mike Lawlor, Undersecretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning at the Office of Policy and Management and Chair of the Crime Lab Working Group, said, "The Governor's working group was guided by the recommendations of the 2009 national report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward . The key to success in the future will be strong leadership at the lab, independent of any law enforcement agency, and committed to science and best practices. Dr. Vallaro brings all of that to Connecticut."
Dr. Vallaro earned a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences/Toxicology from St. John's University in Jamaica, New York, and a Master of Science from New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York.
For Immediate Release: November 19, 2012
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