History of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors / Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB)

In 1973-1974 the initial meetings of what would become the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) took place in Quantico, Virginia at the FBI Academy. For a more detailed history of ASCLD please refer to ascld.org/about-us/our-history. In this early timeframe a national voluntary forensic proficiency testing program was initiated and carried out in the United States. The varied results from the proficiency testing program motivated ASCLD to establish voluntary quality and management standards for the operation of forensic laboratories.

In 1981 the first Board of Directors of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) met. During 1982 ASCLD/LAB received its first applications, inspections took place and accreditations were granted. This accreditation program is presently referred to as the ASCLD/LAB Legacy Program. In 1984 the Delegate Assembly (comprised of representatives from each accredited forensic laboratory) became the new governing body for ASCLD/LAB and the first Delegate Assembly meeting took place in 1985. On February 4, 1988 ASCLD/LAB was incorporated as a non-profit corporation.

During the 1990s ASCLD/LAB added several ‘non-US’ forensic laboratories to its ranks of accredited laboratories. In 1995 the position of Executive Secretary was created and eventually evolved into Executive Director. Formal office space was rented and staffing was increased to meet the demands of a growing domestic and international community of accredited laboratories. Positions included administrative support, financial administration and management, quality manager, staff inspectors/assessors, accreditation program managers, training manager, instructor, proficiency program management and investigation management. The ASCLD/LAB management team consists of talented staff who have all worked in ASCLD/LAB accredited forensic laboratories and assessment teams are staffed with caseworking forensic experts who serve as technical assessors.

In 2003 the Delegate Assembly approved implementation of the ASCLD/LAB-International Accreditation Program which is based on ISO/IEC 17025. For more information about the International Organization for Standardization please refer to iso.org. The first series of forensic laboratories were accredited to the International Program in 2004. On September 12, 2008, ASCLD/LAB became a signatory to the Inter American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC) Multilateral Recognition Arrangement by demonstrating competence to ISO/IEC 17011. For more information about IAAC please refer to iaac.org. On March 31, 2009, after twenty-seven years of accrediting forensic laboratories under a program that had, in recent years, been named the ASCLD/LAB Legacy Accreditation Program, ASCLD/LAB ceased accepting applications for accreditation under the Legacy program. On April 7, 2009, ASCLD/LAB became a signatory to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) Mutual Recognition Arrangement. For more information about ILAC please refer to ilac.org.  On April 23, 2008, ASCLD/LAB formally announced the launch of the ASCLD/LAB-International Breath Alcohol Calibration Accreditation Program. On April 22, 2016 ASCLD/LAB merged with ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB).  For more information about the history of ANAB please refer to anab.org/about-anab/history.

(Posted November 2016)