Police forensic unit reaccredited

Published 10:03 pm Monday, December 9, 2019

The Suffolk Police Department recently announced its Forensic Unit has achieved reaccreditation.

The unit, led by Forensic Supervisor Julissa Armstrong, achieved American National Standards Institute/American Society of Quality Control reaccreditation. In September 2016, they received the first accreditation of a forensic unit in Hampton Roads.

Armstrong spent months preparing, rewriting policies, establishing updated procedures and implementing annual proficiency testing of her staff, all culminating in an assessor review that occurred earlier this fall by an accreditation team that specializes in crime scene investigation.
There were approximately 170 standards across five different sections that include documentation, evidence collection, chemical screening tests, latent print development and general laboratory procedures that were reviewed as part of the process.

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There are limited accreditation bodies in the United States for forensics, and this particular body was chosen for accreditation because it has an outstanding reputation and is responsible for the Department of Forensic Science Lab accreditations. Suffolk initially was only the second forensic unit in the Commonwealth of Virginia to achieve the ISO 17020 accreditation, joining Prince William County Police forensics services in this prestigious designation.