© 2023 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

After Possible Evidence Tampering, Brown's Office To Look Into OSP Lab Practices

<p>How does the culture of science research affect the goals of science research?</p>

Abd Allah Foteih/Flickr


How does the culture of science research affect the goals of science research?

Governor Kate Brown announced Friday that she's forming a workgroup to look into the Oregon State Police Crime lab. That's alongside investigations by Oregon's Department of Justice and the Deschutes County District Attorney, which are looking at a state employee's mishandling of crime evidence.

The investigations are focused on lab tech analyst Nika Larsen. She's accused of stealing illegal drugs from a crime lab in Bend. Allegedly, she tried to hide her tracks by replacing stolen drugs with fake ones.

Deschutes District Attorney John Hummel is reviewing 502 criminal cases that involved evidence analyzed by Larsen. Those cases date back to 2012. Most of them are drug cases, but there are also burglary cases and one sexual assault case.

"It is not your run of the mill theft. A law enforcement official is sworn to uphold the truth and when they commit a crime such as this they violate the public truth. It's a shock to the criminal justice system.," said Hummel.

Before working at the Bend crime lab, Larsen worked in two other OSP offices since 2007. Hummel said his and other district attorney offices are looking into whether she committed crimes in those counties as well.

Hummel said Larson could face a myriad of charges including theft, misconduct, and possession of a controlled substance. She is on administrative leave while the investigations continue.

The credibility of the criminal justice system is critical to Oregon's citizens," Governor Brown said. The workgroup will be co-chaired by House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson and Senator Jackie Winters.

Additional workgroup members include:

Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Amanda Peacher