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State DHR explains vetting process for DNA, drug testing vendors

Brandy Murrah
Brandy Murrah(Source: Dale County Sheriff's Office)
Updated: Jun. 3, 2019 at 8:42 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WSFA) - As the investigation by Ozark Police into forged DNA and paternity drug tests reported to DHR continues, questions have surfaced about the vetting process for contracted vendors.

Court documents show the woman arrested, Brandy Murrah, previously pleaded guilty to fraud in 2013, according to Dale County District Attorney Kirke Adams.

At this point, it’s not clear if DHR was aware of her criminal history. Barry Spear, the Public Information Manager for the Alabama Department of Human Resources, confirmed DHR does not conduct background checks for these types of services. Spear said county DHR directors work with resource workers to select testing vendors. Vendors are selected based on recommendations from the community, or courts, or the district attorney.

He said there is nothing in the current policy that would require DHR to conduct background checks or information in paperwork where someone would have to divulge their criminal history.

“There’s no policy, but certainly one would hope that the county director would use the better judgement,” said Spear.

He said DHR does run background checks on service providers who work alone with children and state approval is needed if the daily service provider cost is above $500.

Spear said he’s not aware of any changes to the policy with the department. He said as they investigate the Murrah case they don’t believe this is something they are looking at statewide - but they can’t comment on the matter because it is an active investigation with pending litigation.

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