By Bob Weaver|
The chief of the West Virginia State Police's crime lab, Capt. Rick Theis, has
reportedly resigned, according to the Charleston Gazette. Theis had been placed on
administrative leave in March.
The Theis resignation follows the State Police firing of lab supervisor Sgt. Timothy
Grant White, 35, last week.
Sgt. White had reported a civilian lab worker had acted improperly last year. Todd
McDaniel, 33, was sent to jail on White's testimony.
The State Police have yet to release findings regarding an internal investigation
which also involved the FBI and other agencies. A report obtained last year by the
Gazette, showed "signs of deception" while Sgt. White took a lie detector test.
While the State Police have maintained no one has been wrongly accused or
imprisoned by faulty lab tests, at least one former prisoner was reportedly paid one
The State Police Lab has been accused of sloppiness and much worse over lab
employee Fred Zain, whose ghost continues to haunt the agency. Several attorney
groups and criminologists say the State Police lab is further flawed, indicating
conflict of interest. Some have called for an independent lab to be formed.
The State Police lobby has held off efforts by the the West Virginia Legislature to
reorganize the agency. Nearly all State Troopers have joined a new union, claiming
they have been victimized by mismanagement. The blue-on-blue (in West Virginia
green-on-green) professional misconduct process continues to be called to task,
indicating it is not responsive to the public's interest.
A wide-spread trend of professional misbehavior and abuse has plagued the agency
in recent years, some blaming the problem on a lack of psychological screening or
military-like training at the State Police Academy. Others contend the supervisory
system has broken down.