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Short Communications - Forensic Science Communications - July 2005

Short Communications - Forensic Science Communications - July 2005


July 2005 - Volume 7 - Number 3

Short Communication

FBI Laboratory Accreditation

Marsha L. Karas
Quality Assurance Specialist
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Quality Assurance and Training Unit
Quantico, Virginia

The FBI Laboratory is committed to the utmost quality in every forensic service provided. In addition to the Laboratory’s quality system guidelines, the Laboratory adheres to the requirements set forth by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB). This nationally recognized organization accredits forensic laboratories and monitors their compliance for the five-year accreditation period.

The FBI Laboratory was initially granted ASCLD/LAB accreditation in 1998 and sought reaccreditation in 2003. After the board’s acceptance of the application for reaccreditation in November 2003, an ASCLD/LAB staff inspector and the Laboratory’s quality manager finalized the details of the pending assessment.

The on-site inspection began the week of January 25, 2004, and the team was composed of 29 inspectors from 19 states and one Canadian province. Each inspector is qualified as a forensic scientist in a specific discipline and has completed an ASCLD/LAB inspector training course.

The assessment covered many aspects of the Laboratory’s quality system as well as the intricate details of the following seven accreditable disciplines: controlled substances, firearms and toolmarks, latent prints, questioned documents, serology and DNA, toxicology, and trace evidence.

The inspectors determined that the FBI Laboratory had several issues to resolve prior to being granted reaccreditation. The majority of the concerns were addressed during or immediately after the seven-day inspection period. The remaining matters were attended to during the summer, and a follow-up visit occurred on October 12-13, 2004. At that time, two ASCLD/LAB staff inspectors returned to ensure that any issues presented at the initial inspection had been resolved. After meeting the requirements of ASCLD/LAB, the FBI Laboratory successfully achieved reaccreditation. The accreditation plaque was presented to the Laboratory’s Director, Dr. Dwight E. Adams, on March 17, 2005.

FBI Laboratory Director Accepting Accreditation Plaque

Figure 1: Dr. Dwight E. Adams, FBI Laboratory Director, and
Laboratory Managers Accepting the Accreditation Plaque from
Mr. Ralph Keaton, Executive Director, ASCLD/LAB