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Law Enforcement Accreditation
Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA)
The OSBI has maintained accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) since July 2002. In July 2008, the OSBI was honored with the designation as a Flagship Agency.
The CALEA® Flagship Agency Program* is designed to acknowledge CALEA Accredited public safety agencies that have demonstrated success in the accreditation process. The Flagship Agency designation is effective for the duration of the current award period.
A Flagship Agency must meet the following minimum criteria:
• Must have a minimum of two previous consecutive accreditation awards.
• Must not have conditions or noncompliance issues on the most recent past award.
• Must not have noncompliance issues or be recommended for conditions on current assessment.
• Current Assessment Report must have limited file maintenance and applied discretion issues.
• Current Assessment Report must not have issues involving life, safety, and security standards.
*This program has been replaced with the Accreditation with Excellence Award and is available only to those agencies enrolled in the Advanced Accreditation.
In 2011, CALEA introduced a tiered accreditation for law enforcement standards. Also introduced was a new methodology for assessing agencies seeking reaccreditation in any of its programs. Known as the Gold Standard Assessment (GSA), this voluntary assessment format focuses primarily on processes and outcomes associated with standards specific to agency policies. In short, it works to measure the impact of accreditation as opposed to simply confirming compliance through a file-by-file review.
In addition to strong organizational health and an absence of issues that detract from the professionalism of the agency, the following general criteria must be met before an agency may be considered to participate in the GSA process:
• Must have two previous accreditation awards at the level of accreditation currently being sought.
• Must not have had compliance issues in the most recent assessment.
• Must not have had process management issues in the most recent assessment.
• Must not currently be under a consent decree or memorandum of understanding.
• Must not be exercising agency requested assessment extension option for the current process.
• Must have submitted all three Agency Status Reports as required and on time.
In July 2011, because of the previous excellent assessment, the OSBI was asked to participate as a pilot project of the Gold Standard Assessment. The GSA required more preliminary involvement by agency representatives and the director. The agency was found once again to be in compliance with all applicable standards. The July 2014 assessment was also conducted as a Gold Standard Assessment. The overall policies, procedures, and practices of the OSBI were found to be consistent with the standards and spirit of CALEA accreditation.
Comments by assessors during reaccreditation assessments:
“The OSBI is recognized within the state as a valuable and reliable asset, to assist in major investigations and provide critical services that are beyond the capabilities of a local agency. The agency is staffed by dedicated, committed, and highly trained professionals."
“Agency management and staff are truly dedicated to achieving the highest standards of law enforcement excellence. Staff members are committed to maintaining a safe, secure community by providing a comprehensive program of education, enforcement, and protective services. Feedback received from community members throughout the on-site assessment consistently indicated an appreciation for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations community commitment and professionalism.”
Following a July 2017 onsite assessment, the agency was awarded reaccreditation in November 2017. The new CALEA assessment period will now include annual file reviews followed by onsite assessments every four years.
In the late 1970s, the Association of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) created a committee to develop standards that would help improve the quality and consistency of work performed by crime laboratories. Eventually, ASCLD/LAB was created as a separate, not-for-profit organization to provide a voluntary accreditation program based on the standards developed. ASCLD/LAB issued their first accreditation certificate in 1982, and eventually accredited over 400 laboratories.
ASCLD/LAB continued to drive improvement within the forensic science community by seeking to improve the accreditation program and identify the best standards for the foundation of that program. ASCLD/LAB developed and utilized its own standards through 2009, but in 2006, began transitioning to a new accreditation program based on international standards. The original accreditation program became known as the ASCLD/LAB Legacy program, and the new program was named the ASCLD/LAB-International program.
The foundation for the International program is the ISO/IEC 17025 standard, which was developed and is maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). ISO/IEC 17025 specifies requirements to determine the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. In addition to these requirements, the ASCLD/LAB-International accreditation program also utilized supplemental requirements developed by ASCLD/LAB. The supplemental requirements provided more specific guidance in areas that are more significant or unique to crime laboratories such as evidence handling, use of databases (CODIS, IBIS, AFIS, etc.), evaluation of testimony, etc. Implementing the ASCLD/LAB-International accreditation program enabled ASCLD/LAB to earn international recognition as an accrediting body. This recognition demonstrates that ASCLD/LAB has been evaluated and recognized as operating their accreditation program in accordance with ISO/IEC 17011, “Conformity assessment – General requirements for accreditation bodies . . .”
The OSBI Criminalistic Services Division (CSD) first earned ASCLD/LAB Legacy accreditation in 2001. The Eastern Regional Laboratory (ERL) in McAlester was then re-accredited in 2003 when the laboratory changed from a Biology Laboratory to a Controlled Substances Laboratory. The remaining laboratories were reaccredited in 2006 under the Legacy program. The ERL became the first OSBI CSD laboratory to earn ASCLD/LAB-International accreditation in 2010, and the remaining labs completed their transition to the ASCLD/LAB-International accreditation in 2012. All OSBI CSD laboratories were re-accredited again in 2015. In 2019, the OSBI CSD laboratory system successfully completed an assessment for the transition to the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 standards and accreditation requirements.
In the spring of 2016, ASCLD/LAB merged with another internationally recognized accrediting body known as ANAB (ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board). The OSBI CSD continues to maintain accreditation to the ISO/IEC 17025 standard and additional supplemental requirements specific to forensics. In 2018, ANSI acquired full interests in ANSI-ASQ NAB, resulting in ANAB becoming a fully owned subsidiary of ANSI. ANAB (ANSI National Accreditation Board) continues to monitor the OSBI CSD’s compliance with accreditation requirements annually through off-site reviews, on-site surveillance visits, and re-accreditation assessments.