FBI’s Chicago RCFL Receives Prestigious Accreditation
|Washington, D.C. December 03, 2009|
The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) recently accredited the Chicago Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory (RCFL) in digital and multimedia evidence. According to ASCLD/LAB, 51 laboratories in the nation are currently accredited in this discipline. With the Chicago RCFL’s accomplishment, 12 out of 14 operational RCFLs have earned accreditation from ASCLD/LAB. Additionally, the North Texas RCFL recently earned the organization’s international accreditation.
The Chicago RCFL opened in 2003 and is part of the FBI’s RCFL Program, a national network of 16 digital forensics laboratories and training centers devoted entirely to the scientific examination of digital evidence in support of criminal investigations. The Chicago RCFL is managed by a coalition of federal, state, and local law enforcement organizations, including the FBI through its Chicago Division and FBI Headquarters; Chicago Police Department; Cook County Sheriff’s Office; Joliet Police Department; Lombard Police Department; Palatine Police Department; and the University of Illinois at Chicago Police Department. RCFL personnel are FBI-certified as computer forensics examiners and must strictly adhere to standardized operating procedures and institutionalized peer review measures to provide consistent, accurate, repeatable, and verifiable results.
The RCFL Program, which is funded and administered by the FBI, supports the Bureau’s criminal investigative and intelligence-gathering efforts by supplying a wide range of sophisticated technological equipment, examination tools and capabilities, training, and specialized experience.
FBI Assistant Director Marcus C. Thomas said: “Earning accreditation from a respected organization such as ASCLD/LAB demonstrates the Bureau’s commitment to providing exceptional digital forensics services. With the Chicago RCFL’s accomplishment, we have proven—yet again—how serious we take this work. Increasingly, digital evidence is playing a pivotal role in criminal investigations, and we are doing our part to provide high quality services to strengthen our criminal justice system.”
According to ASCLD/LAB’s website, accreditation is part of a laboratory’s quality assurance program, which should also include proficiency testing, continuing education, customer liaison, and other programs to help the laboratory provide more effective overall service. The accreditation process is an intensive assessment which evaluates the qualifications of all laboratory personnel; the laboratory’s operational and technical policies, practices, and procedures; and the laboratory’s quality management system.
For more information about the RCFL Program, visit www.rcfl.gov.