To “accredit” means to recognize an agency or institution as conforming to a body of standards related to a specific discipline. Accreditation is a way for an institution to objectively demonstrate, by the evaluation of an external accrediting body, that it meets (or exceeds) these standards. The Arkansas State Crime Laboratory maintains accreditation from two accrediting bodies: ANAB and NAME.
ANAB (the ANSI National Accreditation Board) is a non-governmental organization that provides accreditation services to public- and private-sector organizations. ANAB provides accreditation for ISO/IEC 17025 testing, calibration, and forensics laboratories.
On December 13, 2004, the ASCL became an accredited laboratory through the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Lab Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) Legacy Program. This was the culmination of a multi-year effort to demonstrate and document adherence to the highest levels of quality in forensic science.
On July 10, 2014, the ASCL received accreditation through the ASCLD/LAB-International program. This program is based on the ISO/IEC 17025 standards for the competence of testing laboratories, with supplemental requirements based on the needs of the forensic science discipline. Please see our accreditation certificate for the full scope of our accreditation. This accreditation replaced the earlier legacy accreditation.
In April 2016, ASCLD/LAB merged into ANAB, which is now the accrediting body for the ASCL.
In order to maintain its accreditation, the laboratory undergoes a full on-site assessment by a team of assessors every four years, with annual assessment activities to evaluate and confirm ongoing conformance. The most recent full on-site assessment occurred in 2018.
The National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) is the national professional organization of physician medical examiners, medicolegal death investigators, and death investigation system administrators who perform the official duties of the medicolegal investigation of deaths of public interest in the United States. NAME was founded in 1966 with the dual purposes of fostering the professional growth of physician death investigators and disseminating the professional and technical information vital to the continuing improvement of the medical investigation of violent, suspicious and unusual deaths.
The Arkansas State Crime Laboratory Medical Examiner’s Section is accredited by NAME and continues to follow NAME’s established guidelines.
Accreditation is just one component of the ASCL’s quality assurance program. Our program also includes proficiency testing, continuing education, and other programs to help the laboratory provide better service to the criminal justice system and demonstrate that our laboratory meets the highest standards of the forensic science discipline.