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Montana State Crime Lab Maintains Global Status as a Top-Performing Forensic Laboratory

HELENA – For the third consecutive year, the Montana Department of Justice’s Forensic Science Division (FSD) is among the few forensic laboratories worldwide to earn the prestigious FORESIGHT Maximus Award from the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD). FSD, most commonly referred to as the State Crime Lab, houses Montana’s forensic science laboratories and medical examiner system and is the sole source of forensic services for law enforcement in the state.

The Foresight Maximus Award is presented to forensic laboratories operating at 90 percent or better of peak efficiency as evidenced by Foresight business metrics during 2022. Only 14 other laboratories worldwide earned the distinction.

“Our state crime lab’s forensic analysis is essential to law enforcement agencies across the state as they investigate crimes and hold perpetrators accountable,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “As crime and illicit drugs continue to wreak havoc on Montana communities at alarming rates, it’s more important than ever that we have professionals who are committed to criminal justice at our forensic laboratories.”

“In the forensic science service provider world, stress and expectations are higher than ever, while resources and funding remain consistently low. It takes perseverance to remain efficient whilst also innovative. These top performing laboratories should be regarded as operations to be emulated by their peers as they uphold high standards of quality and productivity,” ASCLD President Jennifer D. Naugle said in a press release.

The Forensic Science Division plays a vital role in the Department of Justice’s mission to fight crime in Montana and protect Montana families from an influx of dangerous illegal drugs. The division uses state of the art technology to provide precise, objective, and timely forensic analyses in support of the criminal justice community across the state. The State Crime Lab comprises the medical examiner, toxicology, chemical analysis, firearms/toolmarks, latent prints, DNA/serology, quality assurance, and evidence sections.

The State Crime Lab has been accredited by the American Society of Crime Lab Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board since 2005. The medical examiner’s office became accredited by the National Association of Medical Examiners in 2021.