Independent audit affirms high standards for State Crime Lab’s DNA work
Release date: 4/12/2013
Raleigh: An independent audit has affirmed that the State Crime Laboratory’s DNA unit meets high national standards in performing its work to help solve crimes.
Federal Bureau of Investigation auditors performed an on-site review of the Lab’s Forensic Biology section in November, 2012. The FBI Quality Assurance Standards audit examined the Lab’s work analyzing DNA evidence from crimes as well as its work maintaining the state’s DNA database. The Lab learned recently that it has received a perfect score on the recent audit, as it did for the previous two audits.
“Our scientists are hard-working public servants who are dedicated to the pursuit of justice and this most recent audit demonstrates their continued commitment to excellence,” SBI Director Greg McLeod said.
“This unblemished report recognizes the extraordinarily high performance of North Carolina State Crime Laboratory scientists. They are extremely talented, exceptionally diligent and wholly independent,” said Crime Lab Director Judge Joseph R. John, Sr.
Experts at the State Crime Lab compare DNA evidence recovered from crime scenes to DNA profiles of suspects developed by investigators. They can also use the DNA evidence to search for a hit, or match, to a profile in the database. A hit can help law enforcement solve a case with no known suspects. North Carolina’s DNA database contains more than 241,000 profiles and has helped to solve more than 2,200 cases since its inception in 1994.
DNA analysis by Crime Lab forensic scientists can also help clear wrongly accused suspects. Last year, the lab helped eliminate 111 suspects through DNA analysis.
The state’s DNA database includes profiles from all convicted felons and since February 1, 2011 also includes profiles from certain arrestees. The lab obtained hits to 23 arrestee DNA profiles in 2012.
North Carolina’s DNA database is part of a national database called CODIS (Combined DNA Index System), which is overseen by the FBI. Convicted offenders’ DNA samples are collected at local jails and state prisons for analysis and inclusion in the state and national DNA databases. Law enforcement officers take DNA samples from arrestees by cheek cell collector and the samples are then analyzed and uploaded to the databases.
All DNA analysis performed by the State Crime Lab currently takes place at the Lab’s main facility in Raleigh. Attorney General Roy Cooper and the State Crime Lab are pushing to add DNA analysis to the services provided by the state’s Western Regional Crime Lab and Triad Regional Crime Lab, and the Governor’s proposed budget includes the 21 DNA positions requested by the NC Department of Justice.
Last fall, the State Crime Lab began working under ISO 17025, international standards that provide a global basis for laboratory accreditation in management and technical requirements, and is seeking to become the only crime lab in the country to be accredited by two outside organizations.
Contact: Noelle Talley, (919) 716-6413