THE ASCLD POLICY LIBRARY

The American Society of Crime Lab Directors represents managers, directors, and leaders of crime laboratories across the United States spanning the entire range of local, state, and federal government laboratories as well as private labs.  As such, policymakers often look to ASCLD to weigh in on matters affecting the nation’s crime labs.  ASCLD produces Position Papers, Formal Comments, and Official Statements on a wide range of topics.  Below, you can find ASCLD’s official positions and comments on multiple issues across last last several years.


  Official ASCLD Public Comments on NCFS Documents

AFIS Interoperability (Recommendation)

  Draft Recommendation on AFIS Interoperability
  ASCLD COMMENTS – Filed May 2015
  No Public Comment Adjudication Posted (9/11/15)
  Final Views Document on AFIS Interoperability

Critical Steps to Accreditation (Views Document)

  Views Document on Critical Steps to Accreditation
  ASCLD COMMENTS – Filed December 2015

Discovery (Recommendation)

  Draft Policy Recommendation on Discovery
  ASCLD COMMENTS – Filed May 2015
  Public Comment Adjudication
  Final Views Document on Pretrial Discovery

Establishing the Foundational Literature within the Forensic Science Disciplines (Views Document)

  Establishing the Foundational Literature in the Forensic Science Disciplines
  ASCLD COMMENTS – Filed December 2015

Fund Post-doctoral Projects to Facilitate Translation of  Research into Forensic Science Practice(Recommendation)

  Fund Post-doctoral Projects
  ASCLD COMMENTS – Filed December 2015

National Code of Professional Responsibility (Recommendation)

  INITIAL Draft Directive Recommendation on a National Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility
  ASCLD COMMENTS #1 – Filed May 2015
  No Public Comment Adjudication Posted (9/11/15)
  2nd Draft Directive Recommendation on a National Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility
  ASCLD COMMENTS #2 – Filed December 2015

National Forensic Science Curriculum (Recommendation)

Draft Recommendation on Developing a National Forensic Science Curriculum
ASCLD COMMENTS – Filed August 2015
No Public Comment Adjudication Posted (9/11/15)

Presentation of Expert Testimony (Recommendation)

  INITIAL Draft Policy Recommendation on Expert Testimony
  ASCLD COMMENTS #1 – Filed October 2014
  ASCLD COMMENTS #2 – Filed November 2014

Proficiency Testing in Forensic Science (Views Document)

Proficiency Testing in Forensic Science
ASCLD COMMENTS – Filed August 2015

Report Content (Views Document)

Draft Views Document on Report Content
ASCLD COMMENTS – Filed August 2015
No Public Comment Adjudication Posted (9/11/15)

Root Cause Analysis (Recommendation)

  Draft Recommendation on Root Cause Analysis
  ASCLD COMMENTS – Filed May 2015
  No Public Comment Adjudication Posted (9/11/15)
  Final Policy Recommendation on Root Cause Analysis

Task Relevant Information (Views Document)

  Draft Views Document on Ensuring that Forensic Analysis is Based Upon Task-Relevant Information
  ASCLD COMMENTS – Filed August 2015
  No Public Comment Adjudication Posted (9/11/15)

Testimony Using the Term “Reasonable Scientific Certainty” (Recommendation)

  Initial Draft Policy Recommendation on Testimony Using the Term “Scientific Certainty”
  ASCLD COMMENTS #1 – Filed May 2015
  Public Comment Adjudication
  2nd Draft Views Document on Testimony Using the Term, “Scientific Certainty”
  ASCLD COMMENTS #2 – Filed December 2015

Transparency of Quality System Documents (Recommendation)

  Recommendation on Transparency of Quality System Documents
  ASCLD COMMENTS – Filed December 2015


  2014 Position Statements

Accreditation – August 2014

Rapid DNA – March 2014

CODIS Access – March 2014


  2010 Position Statements

Reviewing Historical Practices of Forensic Science Laboratories – September 2010

Technical Reviews of Outsourced DNA Cases – June 2010

DNA Backlogs and Laboratory Capacity – February 2010


  2008 Position Statements

The purpose of the following position statements from 2008 is to provide guidelines to those outside our community for the positions we support in order to safeguard the integrity and value of our profession. These are not immutable laws nor are they all inclusive. However, they represent ASCLD’s positions on what each laboratory operation should strive to meet. ASCLD recognizes the tremendous value, trust and responsibility that the forensic sciences bring and the role our laboratories play within the broader justice community and to the public it serves. In keeping with ASCLD’s history of providing leadership to the forensic community, we are proud to offer our 2008 Position Statements. It is the intent of ASCLD to actively promote open communication and a better understanding of the guiding principles of our profession with all interested parties so we may collectively benefit from meeting our core mission.

-Issued December 2008 by President Dean M. Gialamas and President-Elect Beth Greene

ASCLD believes the practice of forensic science must be built on a foundation of ethics and objectivity. Regardless of whether a laboratory is a part of a police or sheriff’s department, a local or state attorney’s office, a medical examiner’s office or any other parent agency, laboratory managers and employees of forensic laboratories must avoid any activity, interest, influence, or association that interferes or appears to interfere with their independent ability to exercise professional judgment. Our professional ethics provide the basis for the examination of evidence and the reporting of analytical results by blending the scientific principles and the statutory requirements into guidelines for professional behavior. Laboratory managers must strive to ensure that forensic science examinations are conducted in accordance with sound scientific principles and within the framework of the statutory requirements to which forensic professionals are responsible.

ASCLD believes proper and continuous funding is critical for all forensic science laboratories and operations to meet their near-term and long-term operational demands as well as their training and continuing education needs. Adequately resourced budgets allow forensic managers to provide the proper space, technological support and staffing levels to meet (i) the quality and time demands of casework and (ii) the on-going competency requirements for training, research, technological development, and innovation. Funding must be substantial and consistent in order to provide accurate, timely and meaningful results that can identify the guilty and exonerate the innocent.

ASCLD believes accreditation of ALL forensic science operations is an essential quality component. Accreditation, with movement toward ISO/IEC 17025 based international standards as currently offered by our strategic partners, provides confidence and assurance to a parent organization, its employees, the criminal justice community, and the public that the operation can meet the most comprehensive forensic quality management system requirements.

ASCLD believes highly educated, technically competent and qualified forensic professionals are essential to our mission. Forensic laboratories must hire and retain qualified personnel who have the integrity necessary in the practice of forensic science. ASCLD recognizes the essential need for enforceable standards in educational programs and the benefits of certification of all forensic practitioners. Proper training and individual certification provides confidence and assurance that the forensic practitioner can meet the stringent knowledge, skill and ability requirements for his/her discipline(s).

ASCLD believes laboratory managers and parent organizations need to develop, share and support the best practices of technological and fiscal efficiency in order to achieve standardization within the forensic disciplines. The development of standardized methods and procedures, the development of common language in benchmarking performance studies, and the careful analysis of fiscal and operational metrics will provide improved accountability to the justice community and standardization between all forensic science laboratories and operations.

ASCLD believes the creation and support of an advisory infrastructure which includes the appropriate stakeholders is a means to promote and encourage scientific and managerial excellence in the forensic community. Such an infrastructure, however named and formed, must be advisory (non-controlling) in function and comprised of individuals with the knowledge and understanding of forensic science which could identify and help resolve legitimate concerns while discrediting criticisms that are unfounded or unsupported.


  Other ASCLD Policy Documents

Press Release Regarding the President’s FY2015 budget and Assisting Prosecution of Sexual Assault Cases – March 2014
ASCLD Public Comments to the National Commission on Forensic Science – February 2014
ASCLD Comments on NIST Guidance Groups – November 2013
SAFER Act Overview – March 2013
ASCLD Comments on the National Commission on Forensic Science – March 2013
President Sprigg’s Comments on Rapid DNA Instrumentation – October 2012
ASCLD Letter to Congress Regarding the NAS Report – March 2009
ASCLD Comments on the NAS Report – February 2009
NAS Report Executive Summary – February 2009