(05/26/2002)
Sgt. Tim White of the West Virginia State Police's crime lab has been fired, according to Major B. D. Gore. Sgt. White and the lab's director Captain Rick Theis have been on suspension since March, related to improper practices. Captain Theis' future is unclear, but he is still employed by the agency.

Sgt. White had been involved in an incident in 2001 when the State Police fired a civilian lab worker who pled guilty to federal mail fraud charges, and was sentenced to jail.

State Police Superintendent Howard Hill asked the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office to investigate the matter. An independent lab was hired to test all cases Sgt. White analyzed from April 1 to July 3 of last year.

Major Gore said last week the FBI is continuing their investigation.

Millions of dollars in lawsuits have been filed against the West Virginia State Police since the Supreme Court discredited former lab chief Fred Zain in 1993. Zain's trail of unprofessional conduct continues to problem the agency and the State of West Virginia, including sending innocent people to jail.

The West Virginia State Police continues to defend their internal review policies, which previously focused on the agency monitoring itself. Several members of the West Virginia Legislature have called for a civilian review board, particularly since conduct problems continue to plague the agency.

Calls have been made to reorganize the State Police into a Highway Patrol, create a Civilian Review Board and remove the lab from the agency, which most criminologists consider to be flawed.

The State Police have now unionized, and will likely take a stance against changing the agency.


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