McGrath: State Crime Lab Receives Accreditation
HELENA – Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath announced Friday that the State Crime Lab has been formally accredited through the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Lab Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB). McGrath made the announcement in a press conference at the Lab in Missoula.
“Montana has an outstanding lab and a talented staff, and the Montana lab has distinguished itself by meeting ASCLDLAB’s stringent standards,” McGrath said. “It is a significant achievement, and one we’re very proud of.”
The accreditation process has taken more than three years. The laboratory was matched with an accredited mentor laboratory to assist in the process. The Montana lab conducted internal audits and an ASCLD/LAB team visited the lab in April. A final on-site audit took place in late September.
ASCLD/LAB standards cover management, operations, personnel, procedures, equipment, security and personnel safety. Accreditation is granted for five years, provided the lab continues to meet ASCLD/LAB standards.
The list of ASCLD/LAB-accredited laboratories includes 176 state laboratories.
In a letter notifying the lab of its accreditation, ASCLD/LAB Chair Donald A. Wyckoff wrote, “Accreditation is granted only after a thorough evaluation of a laboratory’s management practices, personnel qualifications, technical procedures, quality assurance program and facilities. Accreditation is the result of extensive commitment of resources and much preparation by the management and personnel in your laboratory.”
The state’s crime lab provides scientific and technical support to Montana’s criminal justice community. The lab processes more than 5,500 cases each year.
ASCLD is a nonprofit professional society of crime lab directors and forensic science managers. Laboratory accreditation is voluntary. The list of accredited labs includes local, state, federal, international and private laboratories. Approximately half of the forensic labs in the nation are accredited. Accreditation is mandatory for labs to receive some federal funding.
(More about ASCLD/LAB: www.ascld-lab.org)