Baltimore Police crime lab director leaves post

The crime laboratory director for the Baltimore Police Department has left the agency, taking the same position with the Montgomery County Police Department, police there confirmed.

Dr. Francis Chiafari had held led the city police crime lab since 2009, and had previously worked with the lab for more than a decade as a technical adviser.

City police did not respond last week to questions about the status of the leadership but a Montgomery County police spokeswoman confirmed that Chiafari joined the department in recent weeks.

After The Sun wrote about Chiafari's departure Monday, city police spokesman Lt. Eric Kowalczyk said in an e-mail that the crime lab's deputy director, Steven O'Dell, has been named the new director.

Chiafari took over the Baltimore crime lab amid controversy, after the firing of the previous lab director following questions raised about procedures in the lab. In April, the Baltimore Police crime lab announced that it had received accreditation from the American Society of Crime Lab Directors.

In March, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by 40 crime lab workers who said they were being paid less than their peers who process firearms and latent prints. U.S. District Judge Ellen Hollander wrote that the city had "readily justified the pay disparity."

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