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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

State Police Crime Lab Changes

12:00AM / Monday, March 12, 2007

Public Safety and Security Secretary Kevin M. Burke today announced the acceptance of the resignation of Carl Selavka as Director of the State Police Crime Laboratory, the appointment of a new Acting Director of the laboratory, and the signing of a contract with an external vendor with extensive expertise to undertake the review of all operational and management systems at the laboratory.

“These actions begin to address management issues which have led to administrative and notification failures relative to the Crime Lab,” said Burke.

On Feb. 20 Burke named Undersecretary of Public Safety LaDonna Hatton as taking over day to day operation of the Crime Laboratory.

Burke said that Mary Kate McGilvray, a 20-year employee at the Laboratory, has been named as the Acting Director of the Crime Laboratory.

“Mary Kate began her laboratory career as a chemist, and brings expertise in every area of specialty services such as DNA, criminalistics, crime scenes and toxicology,” said Burke.

A past recipient of the Manuel Carballo Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Service, McGilvray has testified as expert witness in countless cases, and assisted in multiple investigations of homicide and sexual assault. She most recently oversaw the successful attainment of Laboratory Forensics accreditation.

The appointments are the first major steps in a series of anticipated changes designed to meet the broader administrative and supervisory concerns at the lab.

Burke also announced the signing of a contract for a complete management and operational systems analysis by the Vance Co. of Braintree, to be completed with a final report due to the Executive Office of Public Safety by June 30.

“This report will provide an expert analysis and road map as the Crime Laboratory moves forward to meet new challenges,” said Burke.

The contract with Vance, for $267,000 includes interim reporting updates during the process of analysis. Vance was selected from among five bidders for the project. Burke said that these announcements come as two other reviews are taking place, one by the FBI which is examining the DNA database, and a State Police internal review, requested last November by State Police Colonel Mark Delaney, and which is nearing final completion.

Vance has expertise in crime lab operations, forensic analysis, DNA testing, chain of evidence handling, prosecution of cases, and the role crime laboratories play in the judicial system.

Burke noted that the issues which have arisen since last fall in the management of DNA results stem from lapses in management, supervision, prioritization and notification.

He said it’s important to understand that errors were not made in the matching of crime scene DNA evidence, rather, the issues at fault focus on management of notice of the DNA results themselves to appropriate authorities.

“The science of the actual DNA processing has never been questioned and is in fact a well-accepted tool whose use is invaluable for our District Attorneys."


“I am looking forward to new management under acting director Mary Kate McGillvary, whose DNA and systemic expertise is significant, so that the lab can continue the delivery of their high quality science but do it in a more timely fashion,”said Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe, Vice President of the District Attorney’s Association. “The public should understand that the science produced by the laboratory has been and continues to be of the highest reliability. In order for that science to meet its full potential in the hands of investigators and prosecutors it must be provided to them without unnecessary delay. These steps being undertaken will aid in that effort.”

“We look forward to working with the Executive Office of Public Safety on this crucial assignment," said Robert Sikellis, managing director and associate general counsel of Vance. "Our goal is to provide the Department with a comprehensive assessment and set of recommendations that will restore confidence in the integrity this laboratory and its vital role in the Commonwealth.”


Selavka was employed as Laboratory Director since July, 1998. His duties included direct oversight of the Crime Laboratory System, and the Massachusetts DNA databank.
Your Comments
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Carl Selavka is a decent man who did not deserve the railroading he received. How quick people are to forget that Dr. Selavka took over a historically troubled lab, managed to get the lab accredited by the ASCLD-LAB, brought in significant federal funding for laboratory improvement and personnel, and helped expand forensic services including a long desired lab in Western Mass. How pathetic it is that a good leader who does the right thing is pushed aside by political hacks who want to look like they are doing things right.

from: CMon: 03-14 00:00:00-2007


 
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