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Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Date: July 11, 2014
NEW CASTLE, DE (July 11, 2014) -
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Rita Landgraf, joined by Secretary Lewis D. Schiliro, Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS), today released the findings and recommendations for reforming the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) prepared by Andrews International. Landgraf requested the independent report from a team of forensic science experts from around the country for a science-based and objective review of the alleged problems in the OCME. The report concludes the OCME had a culture of "indifference and incivility."
Major findings of the report include:
The report highlights the "inadequate supervision and management practices" of the Chief Medical Examiner and the need for a substantial restructuring of the leadership of the OCME. The first step towards this reorganization was the passage of Senate Bill 241, which abolished the OCME, created a new Division of Forensic Science within the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, and established a new Commission on Forensic Science to provide oversight and guidance to the new Division. Secretary Landgraf and Secretary Schiliro further announced today that Dr. Richard Callery was removed from the position of Chief Medical Examiner on July 4, 2014. Dr. Callery was suspended in late February, following allegations of misconduct in the OCME. Those allegations were extensively investigated by the Office of Management and Budget and outside counsel. Among other things, that investigation uncovered significant evidence showing that Dr. Callery conducted private work during State time, misused State resources to perform private work, and violated the State Code of Conduct by performing work for private clients on cases that had been handled by the OCME.
As a result of these serious findings, DSHS and DHSS jointly determined that Dr. Callery should not hold the position of Chief Medical Examiner and he was terminated effective July 4, 2014. A criminal investigation of Dr. Callery's conduct is ongoing. The search for a new Chief Medical Examiner will now begin.
"The Andrews Report is a blueprint for what went wrong, and what needs to be done to restore confidence in the State's forensic science labs," said Secretary Rita Landgraf. "As the report notes, the OCME has talented and competent professionals, but the direct day-to-day management, oversight and support of those professionals was unhealthy and promoted a culture of lax protocols and practices which contributed to the problems."
Added Secretary Lewis Schiliro, "SB 241 is the first step towards fixing what was broken and re-establishing public trust in controlled substance testing and the other work of the new Division of Forensic Science. We look forward to working with the Commission of Forensic Science and engaging the Attorney General, national forensic and academic experts, Public Defender, police chiefs and other partners as DSHS, DHSS, and the employees of the new division implement the reforms necessary to address the problems identified by the Andrews report."
The Andrews Report is available at dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/admin/files/andrews-international.pdf.
Delaware Safety and Homeland Security is committed to promoting and protecting the safety of people and property in Delaware.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.