LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – The FBI’s Digital Evidence Laboratory (DEL), one of the largest digital evidence laboratories in the world, was formally recognized today for its efforts in achieving international accreditation by the American Society of Crime Lab Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB).
The DEL, which is part of the FBI’s Operational Technology Division (OTD), is the first laboratory in the nation to achieve international accreditation for its forensic science work in all areas of the Digital & Multimedia Evidence (D&ME) discipline. The DEL consists of the main laboratory at Quantico, Virginia, one laboratory in Linthicum, Maryland (CART BWI), and three additional facilities in South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The areas under the D&ME discipline include computer forensics, forensic audio, video analysis, and image analysis.
The intensive assessment evaluated the qualifications of all laboratory personnel; the laboratory’s operational and technical policies, practices, and procedures; and the laboratory’s quality management system. All aspects met the requirements of the International Accreditation Program.
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies face difficult challenges when presenting digital evidence in court. Since the ASCLD/LAB recognized digital evidence as an accredited forensic science discipline in 2003, law enforcement has been under increasing pressure to standardize procedures for obtaining, examining, and reporting pertinent data seized from computers. While many forensic entities had procedures in place, few had established or documented formal validation of the procedures. In the interim several states passed legislation that precludes evidence from non-accredited laboratories from being introduced in court. Although these laws do not yet apply to digital evidence, accreditation in this area strengthens the integrity of evidence introduced in court, provides recognition of a comprehensive quality management system, and increases credibility among the national and international digital evidence community.
This major achievement clearly demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to provide exceptional forensic science services to the law enforcement and intelligence communities worldwide.