The OSBI Criminalistics Services Division (CSD) utilizes a comprehensive system to ensure the services provided meet the needs of the criminal justice system. As a comprehensive system, the OSBI CSD quality system addresses a myriad of components critical to quality work, including requirements for areas such as personnel (educational requirements, training, competency testing, on-going proficiency testing, etc.), methods (appropriately documented, validated, inclusion of appropriate standards and controls, etc.), and equipment (maintenance, calibration, etc.).
In addition, the OSBI CSD quality system utilizes numerous mechanisms to gather feedback from both internal and external sources in order to routinely monitor the quality of services provided and to identify opportunities for continual improvement. Some of the mechanisms used to collect information internally include administrative and technical review of casework, independent verifications of conclusions, internal audits, proficiency testing, and management system reviews. The OSBI CSD also seeks to collect external feedback through customer surveys, witness critique forms, and by responding appropriately to any valid complaints received. The OSBI CSD quality system establishes procedures for evaluating the feedback gathered, identifying plans for improvement when necessary, and implementing changes as needed.
Another key element of the OSBI CSD quality system is the evidence submission process. In order to ensure the quality of work performed, the OSBI CSD must ensure that adequate resources (such as proper equipment, documented and validated procedures, trained staff, etc.) exist to complete analysis on evidence submitted. The OSBI CSD provides information regarding the evidence acceptance requirements, types of services provided, and any limitations to services in order to assist customers. In the event that the OSBI CSD cannot provide the type of analysis requested, the OSBI CSD also maintains a list of other laboratories or agencies which may be able to assist. In addition, the OSBI CSD must ensure that evidence submitted for analysis has not been mishandled (improperly collected, packaged, or sealed) in a manner that would impact the quality of results. In order to assist customers with properly packaging and sealing evidence, the OSBI CSD provides evidence packaging and sealing guidelines.