The internationally-known forensic scientist, Dr.Henry C. Lee, is the new commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. Dr.Lee, who assumed the position July 1, succeeds John A. Connelly, who has returned to his duties as State's Attorney for the Waterbury Judicial District.
Dr.Lee, a longtime supporter of The Hundred Club, was the principal speaker at the organization's dinner meeting in 1997. After entertaining the audience of 600 with several humorous stories, Dr.Lee told the club's members, "Law enforcers need more people like you – people concerned about their neighbors and their communities".
In 1979 Gov.Ella T.Grasso called on Dr.Lee to direct the State Police Crime Laboratory and oversee major crime scenes. At The Hundred Club dinner, Dr.Lee recalled, "Mrs. Grasso said, 'We can't afford to pay much.' He added, "My first lab was a bathroom with one microscope." Under Dr.Lee's leadership a modern forensic laboratory was built and a program developed which is considered among the best in the world. Currently, a large addition to the laboratory is being considered.
Dr.Lee came to Connecticut in 1975 when he joined the University of New Haven as an assistant professor. He subsequently created the school's Forensic Science department.
Born in China in 1938, the youngest of 13 children, he fled with his mother and his brothers to Taiwan as a youth. His father had lost his life at the hands of the Chinese communists.
Dr.lee attended the Taiwan Central Police College because it offered free tuition to qualified applicants. In 1950 at the age of 22 he graduated at the top of his class with the rank of captain.
In 1965 Dr.Lee and his wife, Margaret, came to the United States. Dr.Lee pursued his studies and earned an M.S. and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from New York University.
Dr.Lee is the recipient of many awards and in 1992 was elected a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. He is an editor of seven academic journals, has authored or co-authored 18 books and more than 200 articles in professional journals. Police authorities estimate that Dr.Lee has investigated more than 6,000 cases throughout the world and has testified in approximately 1,000 criminal and civil cases.
While serving as Chief criminalist and Director of the State Police Forensic Science Laboratory in Merden Dr.Lee convinced governors and the General Assembly that money should be appropriated for the application of forensic science in the investigation of criminal cases. In addition, he has successfully brought appeals to corporate board rooms and obtained millions of dollars worth of equipment for the state laboratory.
As Commissioner of Public Safety, Dr.Lee hopes to create a management training institute for the State Police and complete the development of a modern communications system.