North Carolina Department of Justice
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State Crime Lab presented with international accreditation certificate

Release date: 7/22/2014

NC only dual accredited forensic laboratory in the country

Raleigh: Attorney General Roy Cooper, along with current State Crime Laboratory Director John Byrd and former State Crime Laboratory Director Judge Joseph John, accepted a certificate formalizing ISO/IEC 17025 international accreditation of the Crime Lab by ASCLD/LAB today.
This recognition, coupled with the ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation by Forensic Quality Services in June, 2013, makes North Carolina’s Crime Laboratory the only state system in the nation to be dually accredited.  ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation is awarded only to forensic laboratories which comport with the highest international procedural requirements.       
“The highly trained forensic scientists in the State Crime Lab continue to work tirelessly to meet the most stringent standards in the world,” Cooper said.  “This certificate of international accreditation proves that North Carolina is paving the way in forensic science field.”
The certificate presentation took place during the quarterly meeting of the North Carolina Forensic Science Advisory Board held at the State Crime Lab in Raleigh. 
“This second independent international accreditation reaffirms the exceptional quality and integrity of the work being performed by our forensic scientists,” said State Crime Lab Director John Byrd.  “It is a significant honor for North Carolina’s Crime Laboratory to receive this unique distinction.”
The Crime Lab received notice last month 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.
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 to maintain 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. 
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.  

  Media contact:  Jennifer Canada, (919) 716-6413