In keeping with the stated objective of ‘identifying those laboratories which meet established standards,’ the ASCLD/LAB Board has determined that, as an accrediting body, we must be timelier in reviewing instances of significant non-compliance. To further this objective, all accredited laboratories must disclose to ASCLD/LAB all substantive occurrences of non-compliance within 30 calendar days of determining that the noncompliance has occurred.15

In addition to this particular requirement, the ISO program has a requirement for an annual surveillance visit. During this site visit, any issues that may have come to the attention of ASCLD/LAB and/or requirements selected by ASCLD/LAB are reviewed. The accreditation programs are managed by a paid staff member working under the direction of a board of directors, which is elected by the Delegate Assembly. The Delegate Assembly is composed of the directors of all accredited laboratories and laboratory systems. Inspectors must complete a training program and must be employed in an accredited laboratory. At any time, if an issue is brought to the attention of ASCLD/LAB, the board of directors can, after determining that the claim is substantive, implement an interim inspection of that particular issue and the entire laboratory. The program also includes a system of sanctions and an appeal process.

Status of Accreditation

ASCLD/LAB’s international program has accredited 60 laboratories as of April 2008, in addition to 337 laboratories accredited under the original Legacy program.16 FQS-International (FQS-I) has accredited just over 50 laboratories in one or more disciplines; however, FQS-I allows forensic laboratories to customize their accreditation by phasing in one discipline at a time.17 A survey of International Association for Identification (IAI) members, who tend to work in settings other than traditional crime laboratories, revealed that only 15 percent of respondents are accredited.18

Only a few jurisdictions require that their forensics laboratories be accredited. According to the 2005 census of 351 publicly funded crime laboratories, more than three-quarters of laboratories (78 percent) were

15

2008 version of the ASCLD/LAB Legacy Accreditation Manual.

16

See www.ascld-lab.org/legacy/aslablegacylaboratories.html.

17

See www.forquality.org/fqs_I_Labs.htm.

18

T.S. Witt. Director, Bureau of Business and Economic Research, West Virginia University. Presentation to the committee. December 6, 2007.



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