Press release: N.C. State Crime Lab policies, procedures now online; ombudsman office created to assist with complaints

Written by on August 18, 2011 in Community, Open Government, Outside Sources, Politics, Region Comments Off
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From the North Carolina Department of Justice, shared Aug. 5:

RALEIGH — Policies and procedures used at the North Carolina State Crime Laboratory are now available to the public online, Attorney General Roy Cooper said today.

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper. Photo courtesy of the N.C. Office of Gov. Bev Perdue.

Making lab information publicly available is one of a series of recommendations implemented following an independent review commissioned by Cooper to examine past serology cases and lab practices dating from the late 1980s. In a report completed this week, the Ombudsman to the SBI also recommended posting lab policies.

“Our justice system relies on the Crime Lab to help get to the truth,” Cooper said. “Ready access to lab policies and procedures should help ensure confidence in the lab’s work.”

The policies and procedures, along with lab training materials and accreditation information, are posted on the (North Carolina) Department of Justice website, www.ncdoj.gov. The materials are being made available after a full legal review of all lab operations, including written policies, procedures, and training practices.

“We want the public to see for itself the high standards and thorough practices in place today at the lab,” said Greg McLeod, State Bureau of Investigation Director.

Cooper created the Office of the Ombudsman to assist with external and internal complaints concerning the lab and the SBI. The Ombudsman recently issued a report, available at www.ncdoj.gov. In addition to the posting of crime lab documents, a number of the recommendations made in the report have been implemented, some are in process and others remain under consideration.

“The SBI and the Crime Lab have taken a number of steps to promote greater confidence in its operations and activities,” the report finds.

Included in the report is a response from the SBI.

The report was authored by Judge Vince Rozier, Jr., who served as the first-ever Ombudsman to the SBI. Rozier has since returned to the Wake County bench. The Ombudsman program remains in operation while the department seeks a new person to head it.

“Agents and analysts across our state are working hard to solve crimes, exonerate the innocent, and protect the public and they deserve our appreciation,” Cooper said. “Feedback and constructive criticism can only make the SBI better.”

See the complete list of changes strengthening the Crime Lab.

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About the Author

Kathleen O. Davis

Kathleen O. Davis is a contributing reporter to Carolina Public Press. Contact her at kathleenodavis@gmail.com.

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