The 13 Texas Department of Public Safety crime laboratories have received international accreditation, the most difficult accreditation to attain.
The DPS laboratory system is the largest internationally accredited system in the program.
Only three other state police laboratories in the United States have received the international rating:
Oregon State Police
Utah Department of Public Safety
Idaho State Police
Including the 13 DPS labs, only 55 labs in the United States have achieved this level of accreditation.
The laboratories were awarded the international accreditation—which provides the highest set of standards for which a forensic laboratory can be accredited—after a stringent evaluation process that lasted several years.
The accreditation means that the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board recognizes the DPS labs as meeting both the ISO 17025 standards for testing and calibration laboratories, as well as supplemental requirements for forensic-testing laboratories.
The accreditation lasts for five years, with annual surveillance inspections performed each year for the next four years.
The DPS laboratories are located in Austin, Garland, Houston, El Paso, Waco, Corpus Christi, McAllen, Tyler, Lubbock, Midland, Abilene, Amarillo and Laredo.
“We are proud that the accreditation organization recognized the high level of professionalism in all of our crime labs,” said Col. Thomas A. Davis, Jr., director of the DPS. “Gaining this honor took a lot of hard work by hundreds of DPS employees—and keeping the accreditation will take even more hard work. We are ready for the challenge.”
Before an ASCLD/LAB assessment team visits, all of the laboratory’s operational and technical procedures are carefully reviewed along with numerous documents related to personnel qualifications and evidence handling procedures.
The on-site assessment is comprehensive. Every aspect of the laboratory’s operation is carefully reviewed, including its management practices, evidence handling procedures and laboratory security procedures.
Training programs, proficiency testing, competency testing records and testimony monitoring records are reviewed for each employee. The assessment team reviews case files for each employee in the laboratory to ensure that lab procedures are consistently followed and that ASCLD/LAB-International and ISO 17025 requirements are consistently met.
Accreditation is granted only after the laboratory has demonstrated compliance with all of the requirements of the program.