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Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward
ings and recommendations to NIFS for further dissemination andimplementation.
Laboratory accreditation and individual certification of forensicscience professionals should be mandatory, and all forensic scienceprofessionals should have access to a certification process. In determining appropriate standards for accreditation and certification,the National Institute of Forensic Science (NIFS) should take intoaccount established and recognized international standards, suchas those published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). No person (public or private) should be allowed topractice in a forensic science discipline or testify as a forensic science professional without certification. Certification requirementsshould include, at a minimum, written examinations, supervisedpractice, proficiency testing, continuing education, recertificationprocedures, adherence to a code of ethics, and effective disciplinaryprocedures. All laboratories and facilities (public or private) shouldbe accredited, and all forensic science professionals should be certified, when eligible, within a time period established by NIFS.
Forensic laboratories should establish routine quality assuranceand quality control procedures to ensure the accuracy of forensicanalyses and the work of forensic practitioners. Quality controlprocedures should be designed to identify mistakes, fraud, andbias; confirm the continued validity and reliability of standardoperating procedures and protocols; ensure that best practices arebeing followed; and correct procedures and protocols that arefound to need improvement.
The National Institute of Forensic Science (NIFS), in consultationwith its advisory board, should establish a national code of ethicsfor all forensic science disciplines and encourage individual societiesto incorporate this national code as part of their professional codeof ethics. Additionally, NIFS should explore mechanisms of enforcement for those forensic scientists who commit serious ethical violations. Such a code could be enforced through a certification processfor forensic scientists.