From the North Carolina Department of Justice

Published 7:37 pm Tuesday, June 3, 2014

RALEIGH — The North Carolina State Crime Laboratory is now the only full service state crime laboratory in the country to hold accreditation from two international independent accreditation agencies.

The Crime Lab received notice late last week from the American Society of Crime Lab Director Lab Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB), the nation’s largest accrediting group, that it has earned international accreditation through May 2019.

The ASCLD/LAB accreditation is an additional accreditation under ISO/IEC 17025 standards along with ISO accreditation from Forensic Quality Services (FQS), which the Crime Lab achieved in June, 2013.

“Our criminal justice system depends on the expertise of the highly trained scientists at the State Crime Lab,” Cooper said. “This unprecedented dual accreditation proves that North Carolina’s lab is operating under the most stringent standards in the world.”

To earn accreditation, the Crime Lab underwent a full review including an onsite inspection of all forensic disciplines. The State Crime Lab has been accredited by ASCLD/LAB since 1988 and faces a full inspection every five years tomaintain its accreditation.

The State Crime Lab also requires that each forensic scientist undergo annual external proficiency testing with 100 percent accuracy required. All eligible scientists currently performing casework at the Crime Lab are independently certified by an outside organization in their respective forensic disciplines.

Earlier this week, the Attorney General appointed John Byrd to succeed Judge Joseph R. John as director of the State Crime Lab.

“The employees of the State Crime Laboratory have worked diligently to reach this incredible milestone,” Byrd said. “I am proud of their teamwork in achieving these high standards of excellence.”

The State Crime Lab analyzes crime scene evidence including digital evidence, drugs, toxicology, DNA, firearms, fingerprints, gunshot residue, paint, arson, hair and fibers. Analysis by forensic scientists working for the lab can pinpoint suspects and exonerate the innocent.

The Crime Lab operates a main facility in Raleigh and satellite labs in Asheville and Greensboro that provide forensic analysis to the criminal justice system free of charge. The 124 analysts at the Crime Lab worked more than 44,000 cases during the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

The Department of Justice asked the General Assembly this session for more help to keep up with the increasing demand for forensic analysis in criminal cases and to prevent highly qualified scientists from leaving for better pay elsewhere. The department requested funds to outsource toxicology analysis of some cases, pay competitive salaries to forensic scientists who can often make more at other public and private labs, and hire 10 DNA analysts to add forensic biology to the services provided at the Western Regional Crime Laboratory.