On July 8, after more than eight years of diligent and painstaking work, EPD’s Forensic Evidence Unit became the first local agency laboratory in Oregon to achieve American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors accreditation. The FEU will be recognized before City Council when American Society of Crime Laboratory Director’s Laboratory Accreditation Board Chair Pam Bordner made a presentation at the July 8 City Council meeting.
FEU provides high quality and timely forensic processing for EPD cases as well as federal agencies. EPD has been performing forensics since at least 1959. Currently FEU handles latent fingerprint (including evidence screening), surveillance video and advanced crime scene reconstruction; including serial number restoration, trajectory, firearm test fires for functionality, presumptive blood testing, advanced photography and bloodstain pattern reconstruction. The unit handles approximately 120 new cases per month.
Currently the number of Forensic laboratories in Oregon that have achieved ASCLD-LAB accreditation include one state laboratory and two federal laboratories. FEU will be the first local agency laboratory in Oregon to achieve this certification.
In 2011, EPD was awarded a Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant for $40,000. This grant program is funded through the US Department of Justice's Office of Justice programs (National Institute of Justice) to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science services, including services provided by units of local government. The EPD Forensic Evidence Unit (FEU) used the award in its efforts to obtain ASCLD-LAB certification (American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board), to train forensic laboratory and quality assurance personnel assisting with certification, and for overtime to eliminate backlog in the analysis of forensic evidence.
ASCLD/LAB is a recognized organization that accredits forensic laboratories within the United States and throughout the world.
ASCLD/LAB accreditation reflects adherence to internationally-recognized management and scientific procedures for forensic laboratories.
Obtaining accreditation is an important step toward ensuring that the laboratory meets the highest professional standards. Accredited laboratories are better able to face challenges presented in court and bring additional credibility in judicial proceedings. Accreditation provides for an independent, impartial, objective system by which the laboratory can get a total operational review. It also provides a means by which the agency can be measured and monitored over time in the overall quality assurance of laboratory services provided to the Criminal Justice System.