Lab Accreditation Program

August 30, 2020

The DPS Crime Lab Accreditation Program was created on September 1, 2003. During the 84th Legislative Session in 2015, the Texas Legislature passed SB-1287, which transferred the responsibility for accrediting crime laboratories from the Texas Department of Public Safety ("DPS") to the Texas Forensic Science Commission ("Commission") effective September 1, 2015, under Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 38.01.

Please refer to the Texas Forensic Science Commission website for further updates.

Accreditation

The DPS crime laboratories have been continuously accredited since 1986 through the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB), now ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB). The Crime Laboratory continues to maintain its accreditation in Forensic Testing to the requirements of ISO 17025:2017, ANAB accreditation requirements, and FBI Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories. The Texas DPS Crime Laboratory system is among the largest state systems that has undergone this level of accreditation.

Since 2013, the Breath Alcohol Laboratory has been accredited to the requirements of ISO 17025 for Forensic Calibration and Certified Reference Material through the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB), now ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB). In 2019, the Certified Reference Material program transitioned to ISO 17034 for reference material production. The Breath Alcohol Laboratory is the largest laboratory in the nation to provide such services on a statewide level.

Every aspect of the laboratory's operation is carefully reviewed, including its management practices, surveys of customer satisfaction (customer liaison), handling procedures, laboratory security procedures, training programs, proficiency testing, competency testing records, and testimony monitoring records. Accreditation has a positive impact on the general public by promoting a higher standard of quality within laboratories.

The current Crime Laboratory Service accreditation certificates are available from the ANAB website.

Certification of Forensic Scientists

While accreditation of crime laboratories is required in Texas, certification of individual Forensic Scientists is not currently required. However, voluntary certification is available to the forensic scientist and is recognized as an additional measure of quality assurance and credentialing.

For more information on certification, the Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board (FSAB), which was formed by the members of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, recognizes and accredits certain organizations which certify individual Forensic Scientists. Here is a list of organizations which certify Forensic Scientists.

Licensing of Forensic Personnel

During the 84th Legislative Session in 2015, the Texas Legislature passed SB-1287, which requires qualifying forensic analysts and technicians to be licensed beginning January 1, 2019.

Please refer to the Texas Forensic Science Commission website for further updates.

NIST OSAC Standards

The NIST Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science (OSAC) was created in 2014 to address the need for discipline-specific forensic science standards. OSAC is composed of 550-plus members from the forensic community and other relevant areas such as scientific research, measurement science, statistics, law and policy. OSAC’s mission is to draft forensic science standards that define minimum requirements, best practices, standard protocols and other guidance to ensure that the results of forensic analysis can be relied upon by the criminal justice community. The OSAC Registry is a repository of these high-quality, technically sound forensic standards that have been published by a Standards Developing Organization (SDO) or that have been have been drafted by OSAC and are pending publication by an SDO. More information about OSAC can be found at The Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science | NIST.

Crime Laboratories have the opportunity to voluntarily adopt OSAC standards into their standard operating procedures and policies. Adoption of these standards is not a requirement of accreditation, but it can provide an additional measure of confidence in the work that laboratories perform. Texas DPS Crime Laboratories have voluntarily adopted many of the standards on the OSAC Registry and are now considered OSAC Implementers.