Kermit Channell was appointed as the Director of the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory in 2007, but his service to the laboratory and the state of Arkansas started twenty years earlier, in 1987, when he started working for the Medical Examiner’s Office after graduating from Elon College in North Carolina.
He left the laboratory briefly before returning in 1990. He worked first as a Forensic Serologist before being chosen in 1996 to create—and then lead—the first forensic DNA section in the state.
In 1997, Channell helped establish the DNA database program in Arkansas, and also helped to advance convicted offender legislation. He held the positions of DNA Supervisor, Technical Leader, and CODIS State Administrator.
In 2005, he became the Scientific Operations Director for the lab, managing all of the scientific sections.
In 2007, he became the Director of the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory—a position he has held since then.
Director Channell has served on the following Committees and Boards:
- Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM, 2003–2005)
- Board of Directors for the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD, 2008–2011)
- Represented ASCLD as the liaison to the International Forensic Strategic Alliance (IFSA)
- U.S. Technical Advisory Board Chair to ISO/TC 272 Forensic Science (2011–2017)
- North Carolina Forensic Science Advisory Board (2012–present)
- Member of Central Law Enforcement Leadership Group
- Member of Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police
Director Channell is the 2020 recipient of the Briggs White Award for Excellence through Leadership in Forensic Science Management, awarded by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors.
Under Director Channell’s leadership, the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory has won the Foresight Maximus award in both of the years that the laboratory was eligible. This award recognizes laboratories operating at 90% (or better) of peak efficiency, an achievement only reached by fourteen laboratories in 2020.