Berks County District Attorney’s Forensic Services Crime Lab awarded international accreditation

Submitted photo District Attorneyís Forensic Team with Accreditation manager David Grady. Front Row: Dr. Kate Ameral PHD, Sophie Eddinger, David Grady, Sgt. Robert Johnson, Det. Justin Morrow, Det. Craig Ziemba. Back Row: Lt. Todd Trupp, George Bell, Det. Nick Bolognese, Det. David Reidler, Chris Luciano, Det. Pam Mathias, Det. Heather Calabria.

The Berks County District Attorney’s Forensic Services Crime Laboratory has met the standards for international accreditation in the field of forensic inspection from the American National Standards Institute – American Society for Quality National Accreditation Board (ANSI-ASQ). The scope of the accreditation included the forensic disciplines of crime scene analysis, computer forensics, and latent fingerprint processing and comparison.

At the Nov. 30 ceremony, David Grady an accreditation manager for ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board officially presented a certificate of accreditation to the members of the Berks County District Attorney’s Forensic Services Unit (FSU) for this significant accomplishment. Attending the ceremony were members of the Berks County Chiefs of Police Association, local Law Enforcement Officials and local Elected Officials.

There are more than 15,000 forensic laboratories or police science units in the United States and very few are accredited to International requirements. The Berks County District Attorney’s FSU is one of only three law enforcement laboratories (Philadelphia Police Department and PA State Police) in the Commonwealth of PA that has been awarded such a prestigious accreditation.

In July of 2015, the FSU members led by Sergeant Robert Johnson started their climb towards International Organization Standards (ISO) of accreditation. They spent months of preparing, rewriting policies, establishing updated procedures, and implementing annual proficiency testing. During this demanding process they continued to balance the everyday functions of a fulltime forensic lab.

On Oct. 18 through Oct. 20, an on-site assessor review was conducted by an ANSI-ASQ accreditation team of inspectors. This final part of the accreditation process consisted of a review of the unit’s policies and procedures, and the examination of all of the areas of the laboratory where the FSU members operate. They inspected the equipment and interviewed all of the FSU staff members. They reviewed case logs, reports, several major cases, training records, personnel files and equipment manuals. Each FSU member was asked a series of questions to demonstrate proficiency in the field, as well as to demonstrate their ability to use assigned equipment.

On Nov. 1, Sergeant Johnson and his staff were informed by the National Accreditation Board that they have successfully completed all requirements for the ISO accreditation.

“By achieving accreditation, our forensic team is now recognized internationally for its integrity, reliability and technical competence. Additionally, they will better serve our constituents and strengthen the confidence of judicial authorities. This is an outstanding achievement.”

The following are members from the Forensic Services Unit: Sergeant Robert Johnson, Detective Nick Bolognese, Detective Justin Morrow, Detective David Reidler, Detective Craig Ziemba, Detective Heather Calabria, Detective Pam Mathias, Analysist Sophie Eddinger (Computer Forensics), Analysist Chris Luciano (Computer Forensics), and George Bell (Forensic Support Officer).

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