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Town Hall with Sen. Keith Ingram and Kermit Channell, Arkansas Crime Lab Director

This is out latest installment of a town hall series with Arkansas’ leaders. Our goal is to connect the community with reliable sources of information during these uncertain times.

In this session, I’m pleased to be joined by Kermit Channell. He has served as director of the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory since 2007. But his service to the lab and to Arkansas started twenty years earlier when, in 1987, he began 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 helped to advance convicted offender legislation.

In this session, Channell and I discuss the crime lab's role in DNA testing as it pertains to apprehending suspected criminals, Katie’s Law - which required the collection of DNA samples upon arrest for capital murder, first-degree murder, kidnapping or first- and second-degree sexual assault, and the expansion of that law. We also discussed what it might take to expand rapid DNA technology across the state of Arkansas so that violent criminals can be apprehended before they harm again.


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