Sen. Latz to Introduce Crime Lab Legislation
Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) said he will introduce a bill during the 2013 legislative session requiring that state crime labs be accredited. Sen. Latz made the announcement after possible failings and mistakes at the St. Paul Crime Lab came to light recently.
The state has about 20 unaccredited crime labs. Lab accreditation is not currently required in state law.
“The safety of the public and the protection of the innocent are best served by good science,” Sen. Latz said. “We need to feel assured that the results produced by our crime labs are accurate and that testing is done up to standards.”
Problems at the St. Paul Crime Lab were revealed after two Dakota County public defenders came across lab failings, including possible instrument contamination.
The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) has adopted four accreditation objectives: improve the quality of laboratory services provided; develop and maintain criteria which can be used by a laboratory to assess performance and strengthen lab operation; provide an independent, impartial, and objective system so labs will benefit from reviews and ensure the public and laboratory service users that labs have met standards.
“I feel we also need to work with the state’s Forensic Laboratory Advisory Board, strengthen its regulatory role and require that Minnesota’s crime labs meet established requirements,” Sen. Latz said. “This is the best way for us to serve justice in our state and to ensure that our law enforcement and legal agencies are receiving necessary and accurate information.”
The state has five accredited crime labs.
“This legislation will be one of my top priorities next session, if I have the honor of being re-elected by the people of my area,” Sen. Latz noted.