July 17, 2023
Arkansas State Crime Lab (ASCL) Director Kermit Channell announced today he will retire, effective August 31. Arkansas Public Safety Secretary Colonel Mike Hagar announced that J.R. Howard will serve as acting ASCL director.
Howard brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience, having served as ASCL director from April 2004 to May 2007, when he was inducted as U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Arkansas. He also served more than 34 years with the Arkansas State Police, which included a 16-month stint as director beginning in 2011.
Channell began working at the ASCL in 1987 in the Medical Examiner’s Office. A decade later, he helped establish the DNA database program in Arkansas and assisted in the advancement of convicted offender legislation. During his tenure, he served in a number of capacities before being appointed as director in 2007.
“The State of Arkansas is indebted to Kermit for his many years of service and for shepherding the crime lab through an important time,” Colonel Hagar said. “We appreciate that J.R. has again agreed to take a break from his retirement to lead the ASCL until a new director is selected.”