Durham forensics division earns accreditation
Forensic Quality Services, an international forensics accreditation agency, has officially granted accreditation to the Durham Police Department’s Forensic Services Division in the area of forensic inspection.
According to a news release from the department, the accreditation is based on assessment of the Durham unit’s procedures, technical qualifications and competence in conducting specific inspection activities. In particular, it applies to crime-scene investigations, latent print processing and examinations and firearms examinations. The division will undergo re-accreditation in five years.
The Durham division, which worked for more than a year to prepare, is the first agency in North Carolina to receive accreditation under ISO/IEC 17020 standards, the release said.
“We now have a lot more checks and balances in procedures,” said Angela Ashby Shuff, the Police Department’s forensic services manager. “There are a lot of specific crime scene and forensic standards employees have to meet to perform certain tasks and we must pass annual proficiency exams.”
The Forensic Services Division’s Crime Scene Unit includes 12 crime-scene investigators, four crime-scene specialists and a supervisor. The Crime Lab Unit, which handles firearms testing, latent print examination and digital forensics, includes four positions, with two more to be funded in January. The division also includes the Property and Evidence Unit.