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OC Crime Lab accepts international honor recognizing the lab's performance and efficiency

The Orange County Crime Laboratory recently was recognized by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, Inc., positioning Orange County as operating at above 90 percent peak efficiency among other crime laboratories.

Of the 15 labs bestowed the honor, Orange County was the only California lab to earn the distinction.  Crime labs in Texas, Colorado, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Montreal also made the list of high-performing crime labs.

The honor looks to highlight excellence in how crime labs handle their case work from start to finish based on a metrics system called FORESIGHT.   

The FORESIGHTprogram is a business-guided evaluation of how labs function by standardizing metrics to effectively assess work tasks and processes. The FORESIGHTmodel allows participating crime labs to implement business practices that create more productive operations, including ways to effectively manage caseloads, staffing and budgets.

This was the first year ASCLD recognized excellence in crime laboratory management based on this model with its FORESIGHTMaxiumus Award, which evaluated 150 crime laboratories, including international labs.

“While we never sacrifice quality for quantity, the OCCL was recognized for operating at 90 percent of peak efficiency for crime laboratories, which is quite an accomplishment,” said Bruce Houlihan, Director of the OC Crime Lab. “Our personnel are extremely committed, and this award is a reflection of their dedication.”

The OC Crime Lab serves every law enforcement agency in Orange County, the District Attorney’s Office, other agencies operating in Orange County, and the legal community in general. Its personnel process more than 55,000 pieces of evidence and work more than 30,000 cases every year.

The lab was established in 1948 following the famous Overell case, which involved a girlfriend and boyfriend accused of killing the girl’s parents by planting a bomb on a boat. When dynamite was found in the couple’s car, the need for forensic work was emphasized.

Today, the Crime Lab has more than 145 employees and is billed as one of the 25 largest labs in the country. OCCL houses a variety of departments to handle crime-related investigations, including: toxicology, forensic alcohol, controlled substances and clandestine labs; DNA; ballistics and firearms; trace analysis, including explosives, paint, ignitable liquids and fibers; CSI; identification, including photography, fingerprint processing and documenting crime scenes; impression evidence; latent fingerprint comparisons; and CAL-ID, the state-funded fingerprint database and biometrics.

For more information on the OC Crime Lab visit: www.occl.ocgov.com.