Councilmember Shares Crime Lab Reaccreditation Update
Finally some great news to come out of the District’s crime lab, operated by the Department of Forensic Sciences. Councilmember Nadeau, who has been focused on the lab’s lack of accreditation and much-too-slow road to reaccreditation, toured the lab last week and learned some big news.
Director Francisco Diaz told her that the lab applied last month for reaccreditation of two of its five units –Forensic Biology and Forensic Chemistry. The first handles serology and DNA testing, the second controlled substances, including drugs. (Chemistry also tracks trends, such as the types of drugs that are currently on the streets.)
This comes after more than two years of glacial progress on applying for reaccreditation. Councilmember Nadeau also understands that the Latent Fingerprint Unit will apply for reaccreditation in the spring. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms continues to perform ballistics testing for DFS.
"Certainty of arrest, prosecution and sentencing prevents crime," according to Councilmember Nadeau, and this gap in the District’s tools is partially responsible for the very low rate of cases being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney.
A “paper review” is underway and a team of outside experts will visit the lab in early December. Accreditation for the two units could come as early as January.
She said, "Clearly this isn’t the only fix to low prosecution or to our public safety issues in D.C., but it’s a critical piece."
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