Crime lab chief moves on


Orin Dym has resigned from heading up the Crime Lab for the Department of Public Safety, Must Read Alaska has learned. David Kanaris is serving as the interim chief of the forensic lab, which is in Anchorage.

Must Read Alaska is told that Dym is in the running to lead the Bexar County Crime Lab in San Antonio, Texas, where he has interviewed for the job. Dym has led the crime lab in Alaska since 2007.

Must Read Alaska was provided by a confidential source the names of no less than 13 employees who were driven out because of Dym’s management style, which was viewed as heavy-handed.


  1. Any news on the decades old rape kits waiting to be tested? I mean he was in charge for 12 years.

  2. Having been a “heavy handed” manager from time to time in my career, I can attest that there are two sides to that story, and the State has a lot more delicate snowflakes in the workforce these days than in my time.

    • Art,

      I was one of the delicate snowflakes he ran off.

      I am certain that the staff is breathing a welcome sigh of relief after a dozen years of Dym.

      Bob Shem
      Forensic Firearm Examiner
      Forensic Scientist since August 1980
      President, Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiner 2002-2003

      • I don’t know the guy and he’s past my time with the State, but I do know how easy it is to become a “heavy handed” supervisor; all you have to do is expect people to do their job. I also know that the State has more than its fair share of terrible managers and supervisors so YMMV.

      • Bob,
        You are far from a snowflake; therefore, the departure of this director was long overdue.

        Richard G. Hitchcox
        Forensic Firearm Examiner
        Forensic Scientist since February 2003
        Master Sergeant, US Army (Retired)

    • There is a difference between : heavy handed management” and harassment. I guess one has to experience it on an excruciating and demeaning routine basis before coming to hasty conclusions.
      Signed – Yet Another Snowflake.

  3. Mr. Chance makes a decent point: being a retired state worker and former supervisor, I know from experience how difficult it can be to get state employees to do their job. That being said, it is equally difficult to remove dictators from their management positions.

    Although I do not know Mr. Shem personally, I have heard that his departure from the Crime Lab was an unfortunate loss. In addition, I do know 5 of the Crime Lab employees that Mr. Dym ran off. These employees are competent, hard working, responsive to constructive criticism, and highly respected in their fields of expertise. I am convinced that Mr. Chance would have never posted his comments, had he known these quality employees.

    I would recommend that Mr. Chance do his homework before posting his comments.

    • I simply made the point that I know how easy it is to get that “heavy handed” reputation. I’ve seen the hit lists that the unions present to new union backed administrations because supervisors and managers had the audacity to actually do their jobs. Many complain about how difficult it is to get rid of poor performers in the public sector. It isn’t really particularly difficult to get rid of them, but it is difficult to want to when you know the price is your name being on that list the next time the unions buy a governor.

  4. A DNA analyst packed her bags and headed to a new job at Lowe’s.

    A Fingerprint analyst packed his bags and is now selling tool sheds.

    The lab’s National Integrated Ballistics Identification Network technician packed her bags and then scooped dog poop for a living.

    Seeing that becoming a “CSI person” is a prestigious event enjoyed by few, why would well-trained, dedicated college graduates give it all up for dog poop and retail hardware sales?

    Says a lot, wouldn’t you agree?

  5. My question is why did those employees have to settle for such low skilled jobs if they were so competent and well trained? Why didn’t an out of state crime lab see fit to offer them a job? Those questions are two votes for Art Chance.

    • Michael,

      The folks who stayed in the state did so because they wished to remain with family who have homes and jobs HERE. Alaska was and is their home. Other examiners, not mentioned, DID leave the state and accept jobs in other crime labs in the lower 48.

      If Alaska was like Los Angeles where you have city, state, county, and coroner crime labs all within easy driving distance, I can guarantee you that there would have been a mass exodus to other labs. But, for all intents and purposes there is only one option in Alaska. If you want to be a DNA analyst or a Firearm Examiner or a Drug Chemist you either work at the State Lab or you don’t work.

      Alaska is my home. I do not and would not want to live or work elsewhere. When faced with Dym’s abuse I chose to lay low and let the clock run out. My persecution began in April 2014 and ended when I retired in November 2016. Had my retirement been much further out I would have likely left the field to escape the madness rather than leave my home. If jobs were tight, I too, would have sold wrenches and paint, rather than lose my home.

      By the way, Michael, are you a friend of Mr. Dym? Or is this you, Orin?

  6. But Mr Dym got a beautiful brand new Scientific Crime Detection Lab at a cost of $100 million. The second largest crime lab in the US–second only to the FBI crime lab in Quantico, VA. Just more waste voted on by the legislature.

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