Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $78,141)
The Mississippi Forensics Laboratory (MSFL), an ASCLD/LAB-International, ISO 17025 accredited system, consists of a central full-service laboratory in Pearl and three regional laboratories located in Batesville, Meridian and the Gulf Coast. The mission of the laboratory is to provide the highest quality, objective services in the recognition, collection, preservation, scientific analysis and the interpretation of physical evidence in the pursuit of truth within the criminal justice system. The MSFL management is committed to good professional practice and to the quality of testing in servicing its customers.
The goal of the FY2016 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program is to provide laboratories with the tools needed to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic services that they provide. The Mississippi Forensics Laboratory (MSFL) proposes to accomplish the goal of the Program by meeting the following three objectives.
1. Provide continuing education to the forensic scientists for the dissemination of information, methods, research, and newly developed examination techniques and instrumentation in their area of expertise. Certification of examiners and laboratory accreditation requires continuing education. Training directly related to the duties of the analysts will improve the quality and timeliness of MSFL forensic services. Deliverables include a) reduction of case backlog, b) analysts acquiring certification and c) certified analysts acquiring required CE units.
2. The MSFL quality management system is committed to maintaining conformance to ISO 17025 accreditation standards to ensure the technical competence of our laboratories and provide customers with a reliable quality casework product. Funds are requested to pay the required maintenance fees associated with the accreditation of the MSFL by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors//Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD-LAB) for January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017. Deliverables include a) good standing accreditation status and b) successful ASCLD-LAB surveillance visit.
3. As a part of the accreditation requirements, ASCLD/LAB, requires crime laboratories to undergo rigorous assessments to show that they are able to perform multiple tests accurately. Periodic re-evaluation involves the use of proficiency test samples purchased from external certified vendors such as Collaborative Testing Services, The College of American Pathologists, and Forensic Science Consultants/Forensic Testing Services. Their results are sent to the supplying vendor for review. This provides the periodic assessment of the scientists performance required by ASCLD/LAB. Eighty-four (84) tests will be required in 2017 and MSFL is requesting assistance to fund this endeavor. Deliverables include a) 84 proficiency tests assigned and b) number of successful results.