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OCME DNA Laboratory Receives Perfect Score as International Accreditation Renewed

December 4, 2015

New York, NY – The Forensic Biology Department of the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) received a perfect score on a recent assessment to renew the international accreditation of its DNA laboratory, Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson announced today. The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) reported zero findings in granting OCME’s DNA laboratory a 100 percent rating for the first time and renewing its international accreditation for an additional four years.

“OCME is committed to excellence in serving the criminal justice system, as proven by our DNA laboratory’s perfect performance on this rigorous evaluation,” said Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson, M.D., Ph.D. “This accreditation renewal signals that those affected by crime in New York City can rely on our DNA laboratory for rapid and accurate analysis of evidence under the strictest, state of the art protocols. I congratulate our Department of Forensic Biology, with special thanks to the Quality Assurance team, on this milestone.”

Regulations require all laboratories providing forensic services in New York State to be accredited. As part of this process with ASCLD/LAB, a team of volunteer assessors from accredited laboratories around the country conducted an on-site assessment at OCME’s Forensic Biology Department in Manhattan from October 19-23, 2015. The team assessed all aspects of laboratory standards and operations including security, training and proficiency testing, quality control records, and testimony records by reviewing documentation, case files, and laboratory work according to international and national standards. Following submission of the team’s report, the ASCLD/LAB board of directors voted to renew the international accreditation of the Forensic Biology Department on November 19, 2015.

The OCME DNA laboratory first received accreditation from ACSLD/LAB in 1995. Since then, the criteria evaluated during each subsequent renewal assessment have become increasingly stringent. The latest assessment tested the OCME DNA laboratory’s adherence to more than 1,000 directives and specifications.

The OCME Department of Forensic Biology operates the largest public DNA crime laboratory in North America and is recognized for its leadership in new and emerging technologies. Staffed by more than 160 forensic scientists, supervisors and managers, the lab performs serology and DNA testing on physical evidence from criminal cases within the City of New York. The lab tests thousands of items of evidence each year from nearly every category of crime including homicide, sexual assault, felony assault, robbery, burglary, hate crimes, and weapons possession. The lab also performs testing associated with missing persons, unidentified remains, and the ongoing effort to identify World Trade Center victims.

For more information, please contact the OCME Office of Public Affairs at (212) 447-2041.