On Tuesday, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced he has appointed a new State Crime Lab Director.

Scott Larson, current supervisor of the Crime Lab’s Toxicology Section, replaces outgoing Dr. Phil Kinsey as State Crime Lab Director effective August 12.

Fox said the current Lab Director Dr. Phil Kinsey leaves later this month to become Director of the Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Lab, located in Vernon Hills.  Kinsey began working at Montana’s State Crime Lab in 2005 as its DNA Supervisor.  When Fox took office in 2013, he appointed Kinsey as Lab Director.

Larson said the crime labs in Missoula and Billings are growing and evolving.

“We’ll be building a new morgue in Billings,” Larson said. “We’ll have a specialized place for autopsies, so that’s going to be a big project over the course of the next year. Also, our ‘breath’ program just got accredited for the first time ever, so we’re only the 26th lab in the country, so we’re excited about that.”

Larson said the caseload at the lab is staggering, despite Missoula’s relatively small population.

“Ordinarily, we can get a DNA sample analyzed within a couple of days, but with the huge caseload increases over time, we’re working with the resources that we have we’re trying to get the cases done faster than they come in.”

The State Crime Lab, analyzes crime evidence submitted by city, county, and state law enforcement officials.  Headquartered in Missoula with a satellite location in Billings, the Lab also manages a statewide system of death investigations.  It has been accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board since 2005, and in international standards since 2011.