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Quality System Overview

The OSBI Criminalistics Services Division (CSD) utilizes a comprehensive system to ensure the services provided meet the needs of the criminal justice system. As a comprehensive system, the OSBI CSD quality system addresses a myriad of components critical to quality work, including requirements for areas such as personnel (educational requirements, training, competency testing, on-going proficiency testing, etc.), methods (appropriately documented, validated, inclusion of appropriate standards and controls, etc.), and equipment (maintenance, calibration, etc.).

In addition, the OSBI CSD quality system utilizes numerous mechanisms to gather feedback from both internal and external sources in order to routinely monitor the quality of services provided and to identify opportunities for continual improvement. Some of the mechanisms used to collect information internally include administrative and technical review of casework, independent verifications of conclusions, internal audits, proficiency testing, and management system reviews. The OSBI CSD also seeks to collect external feedback through customer surveys, witness critique forms, and by responding appropriately to any valid complaints received. The OSBI CSD quality system establishes procedures for evaluating the feedback gathered, identifying plans for improvement when necessary, and implementing changes as needed.

Another key element of the OSBI CSD quality system is the evidence submission process. In order to ensure the quality of work performed, the OSBI CSD must ensure that adequate resources (such as proper equipment, documented and validated procedures, trained staff, etc.) exist to complete analysis on evidence submitted. The OSBI CSD provides information regarding the evidence acceptance requirements, types of services provided, and any limitations to services in order to assist customers. In the event that the OSBI CSD cannot provide the type of analysis requested, the OSBI CSD also maintains a list of other laboratories or agencies which may be able to assist. In addition, the OSBI CSD must ensure that evidence submitted for analysis has not been mishandled (improperly collected, packaged, or sealed) in a manner that would impact the quality of results. In order to assist customers with properly packaging and sealing evidence, the OSBI CSD provides evidence packaging and sealing guidelines.

Accreditation Certificate
Scope of Accreditation

Laboratory Accreditation History

In the late 1970s, the Association of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) created a committee to develop standards that would help improve the quality and consistency of work performed by crime laboratories. Eventually, ASCLD/LAB was created as a separate, not-for-profit organization to provide a voluntary accreditation program based on the standards developed. ASCLD/LAB issued its first accreditation certificate in 1982, and eventually accredited over 400 laboratories.

ASCLD/LAB continued to drive improvement within the forensic science community by seeking to improve the accreditation program and identify the best standards for the foundation of that program. ASCLD/LAB developed and utilized its own standards through 2009, but in 2006, began transitioning to a new accreditation program based on international standards. The original accreditation program became known as the ASCLD/LAB Legacy program, and the new program was named the ASCLD/LAB-International program.

The foundation for the International program is the ISO/IEC 17025 standard, which was developed and is maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). ISO/IEC 17025 specifies requirements to determine the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. In addition to these requirements, the ASCLD/LAB-International accreditation program also utilized supplemental requirements developed by ASCLD/LAB. The supplemental requirements provided more specific guidance in areas that are more significant or unique to crime laboratories such as evidence handling, use of databases (CODIS, IBIS, AFIS, etc.), evaluation of testimony, etc. Implementing the ASCLD/LAB-International accreditation program enabled ASCLD/LAB to earn international recognition as an accrediting body. This recognition demonstrates that ASCLD/LAB has been evaluated and recognized as operating their accreditation program in accordance with ISO/IEC 17011, “Conformity assessment – General requirements for accreditation bodies . . .”

The OSBI Criminalistic Services Division (CSD) first earned ASCLD/LAB Legacy accreditation in 2001. The Eastern Regional Laboratory (ERL) in McAlester was then re-accredited in 2003 when the laboratory changed from a Biology Laboratory to a Controlled Substances Laboratory. The remaining laboratories were reaccredited in 2006 under the Legacy program. The ERL became the first OSBI CSD laboratory to earn ASCLD/LAB-International accreditation in 2010, and the remaining labs completed their transition to the ASCLD/LAB-International accreditation in 2012. All OSBI CSD laboratories were re-accredited again in 2015. In 2019, the OSBI CSD laboratory system successfully completed an assessment for the transition to the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 standards and accreditation requirements.

In the spring of 2016, ASCLD/LAB merged with another internationally recognized accrediting body known as ANAB (ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board). The OSBI CSD continues to maintain accreditation to the ISO/IEC 17025 standard and additional supplemental requirements specific to forensics. In 2018, ANSI acquired full interests in ANSI-ASQ NAB, resulting in ANAB becoming a fully owned subsidiary of ANSI.  ANAB (ANSI National Accreditation Board) continues to monitor the OSBI CSD’s compliance with accreditation requirements annually through off-site reviews, on-site surveillance visits, and re-accreditation assessments.

During the evidence submission process, OSBI CSD employees will carefully review the evidence packaging and information provided to ensure that numerous criteria are met.  The criteria used to review requests for analysis are provided in the attachments below.




The OSBI CSD’s quality system is documented in written laboratory policies and procedures. The policies and procedures which establish the overall framework for the quality system are the OSBI CSD Quality Manual and Procedures. Additional guidance is located in discipline-specific documents, including procedures for the specific analysis performed in the laboratory.  Click on the links below to view the specific policies and procedures.

When necessary, the OSBI follows an internal procedure to propose, review, and approve changes to policies in between full revisions of the documents. These changes, known as major deviations, are not included below but may be obtained by contacting the OSBI.

The OSBI CSD relies on feedback from the criminal justice community (investigators, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, etc.) in order to monitor the quality of service provided and to identify opportunities for improvement. Individuals who utilize the services provided by the OSBI CSD are encouraged to fill out a customer service survey and/or witness critique form. Feedback can be provided anonymously, although the OSBI CSD encourages contact information to be included if there is a concern or suggestion that may require a follow-up contact in order to address the issue. In addition to providing feedback through these mechanisms, the OSBI CSD welcomes feedback via phone or e-mail.

Please, click here for the Witness Critique Forms and Customer Survey.

The OSBI CSD recognizes the importance of clear communication with customers. While this communication may occur on an individual case by case basis, there are also general notifications which serve to inform customers regarding certain OSBI CSD policies, such as how the OSBI CSD selects evidence for testing, how analytical methods are selected, or how the OSBI CSD handles evidence when there may be a need to use evidence for non-casework purposes. In addition to routine communications, the OSBI CSD will contact customers in the event that a quality concern impacts reported results.  In the event a quality concern occurs where notification on an individual case by case basis is not practical, a general notification regarding the issue may be posted below. Customers are encouraged to routinely check this location for updated information regarding OSBI CSD operations.

General Notifications

Last Modified on Jun 19, 2024
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