INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana State Police Laboratory Division has successfully completed an international accreditation process, which assesses the quality operations and scientific procedures, to add crime scene investigation to the scope of accreditation.
The Indiana State Police Regional Laboratories, located in Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and Lowell, have been accredited since 1991.
The four Regional Laboratories and the crime scene and field operations at the other 11 Indiana State Districts have successfully met the rigorous forensic laboratory standards of International Standardization for Organization ISO 17025:2017 as recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) National Accreditation Board (ANAB).
The significance of this accreditation scope extension demonstrates adherence to the exceedingly high requirements continually practiced at all state police laboratory facilities and crime scene operations. This evaluation system provides the general public, and professionals within the Indiana criminal justice system, continued assurance that State Police forensic laboratory and crime scene operations and scientific procedures are meeting the highest international standards.
The path to maintaining Regional Laboratory accreditation and adding crime scene operations to the scope of accreditation began the week of February 18. with a detailed audit of the 15 State Police Laboratory Division facilities. As part of the surveillance visit and scope extension process 17 trained assessors from across the nation evaluated the policies, procedures, training manuals, case files, reports from all laboratory facilities and of each Crime Scene Investigator.
“The inspectors reviewed various aspect of our operations at each of our laboratory facilities,” said Eric Lawrence, Director of Forensic Analysis for the State Police. “At each location inspectors poured through our laboratory reports and viewed on-site documentation and observed actual casework. Laboratory Division staff and scientists were interviewed and observed to verify existing procedures and to ensure compliance with ISO standards reviewed during the week-long inspection. The thorough analysis included reviewing laboratory report findings, data documentation, analytical processes, training, education, and qualifications of staff members.”
While not mandatory, the ANAB accreditation process is a demonstration the Laboratory Division’s commitment of its management, personnel, operational, and technical procedures, equipment and physical facilities to meeting established, independent third-party standards. Accreditation is one facet of the Indiana State Police Forensic Laboratory System’s quality assurance program, which also includes proficiency testing, continuing education, and other programs to help the Indiana State Police Laboratory Division provide better overall service to the criminal justice system.
The four laboratories, comprised of 175 employees, provide forensic services at no charge to federal, state, county and local agencies throughout the State of Indiana. Those services include tests for firearm and tool mark comparisons; identification of controlled substances; trace examinations; questioned documents; latent prints;forensic biology/DNA and maintenance of the state DNA database.
The Division also provides polygraph examinations and crime scene investigations, upon request. The Laboratory Division received over 22,000 new cases for analysis in 2018. Crime Scene Investigators responded to and worked more than 1,300 crime scenes. The Polygraph Unit conducted 712 polygraph tests in 2018.
“The accreditation of crime scene and field operations under the rigorous ISO standards is an outstanding accomplishment.” said Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas G.Carter. “The acquirement of this accreditation is a testament to the excellent work of all the dedicated employees of the Indiana State Police Laboratory Division. This recognition exemplifies the professionalism and dedication that is the standard of the Indiana State Police Laboratory Division.”