You’ve made a mark reviewing old arson cases. You’ve done so by working with the Innocence Project of Texas to identify suspect convictions. From a prosecutor’s point of view, are you working with the enemy?
Chris Connealy: Well, I can’t speak for them but I don’t look at the Innocence Project as the enemy. We have the same goal, to make sure justice is served. Certainly prosecutors have that same goal as well. Working with the Innocence Project is the right thing to do. Is it normal? No. Has it been embraced by folks who are my peers? Absolutely not. But I think a lot more agree and understand why we’re doing it. And until trust is violated between us or them, why not work together? We need to do all the due diligence on our part to make sure the public has confidence that we are following best practices for fire investigations. We are meeting the current science. We are cognizant of the current science.
As a former firefighter and fire chief (in Houston and Cedar Park), what have these reviews taught you? •
Chris Connealy: That you have to stay current with best practices. It’s hard to get in trouble following best practices, and that means following the standards that are out there and training your people about what they do out in the field, and you lead or manage from that approach. Those things that get measured get better. I’m a big fan of performance measures. I’m a big believer in third-party validation. You can brag on yourself all day long, but I’d rather someone else say it.
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