Chief medical examiner at Arkansas State Crime Laboratory to take over as director

Current job chief medical examiner

Dr. Theodore Brown, Arkansas chief medical examiner, makes a note while working Friday, July 16, 2023 at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory in Little Rock..(Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staci Vandagriff)

The Arkansas State Crime Laboratory's chief medical examiner will take the helm as director of the lab next month, state Public Safety Secretary Col. Mike Hagar announced Friday.

Dr. Ted Brown, who joined the Crime Lab as a medical examiner in September 2021, will fill the role left vacant after Kermit Channel retired last month, the state Department of Public Safety said in a news release. Hagar's appointment of Brown is effective Oct. 23.

For Brown, the position will be an opportunity to continue the work he and his colleagues have done in the lab's Medical Examiner Section, he said.

"I'm going to be your advocate," he told Crime Lab employees gathered for the announcement, the release states. "Let's be bold together. Let's be champions together. Together we will achieve epic greatness."

Brown's experience and dedication to the work done in the lab made him the right choice, Hagar said in the release.

"We felt that it was important to have someone in this role who was passionate about the Crime Lab, not someone who was just looking for a job and not someone who wants a title," Hagar said. "For the wheel to turn smoothly, all the spokes need to be in place. To know where you need to go, you need to know where you are and how you got there. Dr. Brown knows that."

Since Channel's retirement, J.R. Howard has served as acting director. He previously served as the Crime Lab's director from 2004 to 2007, when he was inducted as U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of Arkansas, the release states. He also worked for the Arkansas State Police, serving as director for 16 months starting in 2011.

In Brown's two years at the Crime Lab, he led an effort to establish a partnership with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to offer a forensic pathology fellowship program, which was announced in July.

At the time, Brown said the fellowship would offer that person an opportunity to gain experience working with forensics in the Crime Lab, teaching students and serving the state's residents.

Before joining the Crime Lab, Brown taught at the University of Michigan and Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, where he founded a forensic pathology fellowship program.

He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame, his medical degree at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis and an anatomic and clinical pathology residency at the University of Michigan. He completed a forensic pathology fellowship of his own at the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department.

"I want to continue to provide excellent, efficient, teamwork-oriented forensic sciences and service to Arkansas," Brown said in the Friday release. "I want to build a sense of purpose, of passion and ownership and a deep drive to continue to do the work for the people of Arkansas that we've been entrusted to do."

Brown serves on multiple national organizations in leadership roles, including the National Association of Medical Examiners and the American Society for Clinical Pathologists, according to the release. He also serves on the Arkansas Maternal Mortality Review Committee and the Arkansas Infant and Child Death Review Team.