State police crime lab loses accreditation

The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors has refused to extend the accreditation of the state’s forensic laboratory following two critical federal audits, a top Malloy Administration official said Wednesday. Michael Lawlor, Undersecretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning at the Office of Policy and Management, said the lack of accreditation will not affect current criminal cases.

Backlogs at the lab, including the longest-in-the-nation wait for DNA testing, have long been recognized as a problem. State criminal justice officials were briefed on the issues even before the disclosure last week of the audits by the National Institute of Justice.

The audits prompted Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to appoint a panel of law enforcement experts, headed by Lawlor, to find immediate and long-term solutions to chronic under-staffing and other issues.

The crime lab association’s accreditation board declined to extend the accreditation of Connecticut’s lab when it expired Wednesday, Lawlor said. A re-inspection is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 12, when the lab could regain its accreditation, he said.