The director of the state forensic laboratory in Massachusetts was tapped Monday to became the new director of the Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office announced.

Malloy and Department of Emergency Services & Public Protection Commissioner Reuben Bradford selected Dr. Guy Vallaro of Sutton, Mass., to lead the state office responsible for most forensic testing related to criminal investigations.

Vallaro, who was recommended by a panel after a nationwide search, is slated to start his new job Dec. 28.

“A decade of neglect led to the unwelcome news last year that the state crime lab’s accreditation had been withdrawn,” Malloy said.  “Evidence processing backlogs had become a major problem for Connecticut’s prosecutors and police. This was not fair to them, and was a betrayal of our state’s commitment to victims of crime. Dr. Vallaro is the perfect leader to restore our lab to what it once was: the envy of the nation.”

“Guy Vallaro is the seasoned senior-level laboratory executive who can meet the challenges confronting our state forensic laboratory,” Bradford said.

Responding to reports in 2011 of a backlog of forensic cases stetching back several years, Malloy and the legislature reorganized the lab’s administrative functions. It now operates independently from the State Police. The director reports to the emergency services and public protection commissioner.

The governor added that “with the recent reorganization of administrative functions, new protocols, and the appointment of Dr. Vallaro as its director, Connecticut will have the best crime lab in the country.”

As director of the Massachusetts crime lab, Vallaro was credited with streamlining operations and maximizing productivity. He previously held several positions with the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center’s Department of Hospital Laboratories, including vice president of clinical laboratories and vice chairman of hospital laboratories.

“I am honored to have been chosen to lead the fine staff of the Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory,” Vallaro said.  “My first priority will be to reduce current backlogs while providing the highest quality forensic services in support of all the stakeholders in the criminal justice system.”

Vallaro earned a doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences and toxicology from St. John’s University in Jamaica, N.Y., and a master’s of science degree from New York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y.

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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