Weatherford Democrat

October 23, 2012

County hires new death investigator

Judy Sheridan
Weatherford Democrat

WEATHERFORD —  

Parker County commissioners, who voted to terminate the employment of Chief Forensic Death Investigator Regina Banks Oct. 15, named county employee Bryan Wright, station deputy for the Parker County Sheriff’s Office, as Bank’s replacement during a regular meeting Monday. 

The court also authorized the sheriff to act as supervisor for the position instead of the commissioners’ court.

Wright, interviewed by commissioners for the job during executive session Monday, told the Democrat that he worked part time for the medical investigator’s office from 1985 to 1998.

He also served as commander of the Cross Timbers Narcotics Task Force for nine years and is retired from 26 years of service with the Weatherford Police Department.

He is certified as a Master Peace Officer, which requires many hours of education and experience.

“When I worked [as a medical investigator] before, I thought it would be good for me after I retired,” Wright said. “I’m happy that I’m here now.”  

County Judge Mark Riley said the Chief Forensic Death  Investigator, who works under the supervision of the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, has never had a Parker County supervisor to report to — other than the entire commissioners’ court — which handles the hiring and firing.

Supervising the position through the court is a “cumbersome process,” Riley said, which requires scheduling an executive session.

“We have transferred the responsibility of supervision from the court to the sheriff,” Riley said. “This way there is someone to respond to an issue.

“It takes it out of court, and we don’t have to worry about being in those personnel matters. It’s much cleaner.”

Last week, on the recommendation of the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, commissioners terminated the employment of Regina Banks, who had served as chief investigator for Parker County since January of 2011.

The court, which voted 4-1, with Commissioner George Conley voting against for “personal reasons,” appeared reluctant to go forward with the decision, judging from a long pause between Riley’s motion to fire Banks and Commissioner Craig Peacock’s second.

Banks has confessed to making “one small mistake,” but said the dismissal was “definitely not justified.” She blamed Tarrant County Chief Forensic Death Investigator Michael Floyd for her termination and said she planned to obtain counsel.