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Director of DC's Department of Forensic Sciences resigns amid District's crime lab losing accreditation

The news of Jenifer Smith's departure comes as D.C.'s forensic lab recently lost its accreditation.

WASHINGTON — The Acting Deputy Mayor of Public safety accepted the resignation of the DC Department of Forensic Sciences Director Jenifer Smith.

The news of Smith's departure comes as D.C.'s forensic lab recently lost its accreditation, which has led to ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center, which is a mobile command center, helping the Metropolitan Police Department with forensic analysis.

“We have accepted the resignation of Dr. Jenifer Smith, Director of the Department of Forensic Sciences. Her last day will be on Wednesday, May 26," said Acting Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, Chris Geldart. "We thank Dr. Smith for her service and appreciate the job she has done in progressing the agency during her tenure. We remain firmly committed to the priorities of an independent lab; the timely collection, evaluation, and processing of criminal evidence; and high-quality public health analysis.”

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, who called for Smith to resign, called her departure an "important first step."

“Dr. Smith’s departure from DFS is an important first step in addressing the substantial issues that led to the decision of the local and federal prosecutors to cease using the lab and its accreditation being stripped," Racine said in a statement to WUSA9. "We look forward to working with the mayor, law enforcement partners, and defense counsel to rehabilitate DFS.”

A letter from the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) shows that the organization believed that  D.C. Department of Forensic Sciences, Forensic Science Laboratory Division, "deliberately concealed information from the ANAB assessment team, violated accreditation requirements, engaged in misrepresentations and fraudulent behavior, and engaged in conduct that brings ANAB into disrepute."

Below is the full letter obtained by WUSA9 through a source: 

Immediate Suspension of the Department of Forensic Sciences' ANAB Accreditation  

Dear Director Smith: 

ANAB has received credible evidence that the D.C. Department of Forensic Sciences, Forensic Science Laboratory Division, has deliberately concealed information from the ANAB assessment team, violated accreditation requirements, engaged in misrepresentations and fraudulent behavior, and engaged in conduct that brings ANAB into disrepute. This credible evidence is detailed in the “Final Report of Review and Audit of Selected Casework of the Firearms Examination Unit of the Forensic Science Laboratory Division, Department of Forensic Sciences, District of Columbia”, the source materials relied upon in this report and ANAB records from the 2020 assessment activities and complaint investigation.

ANAB's international recognition by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) is based on continued conformance with ISO/IEC 17011. That standard, in pertinent part, states in 7.11.2 "Where there is evidence of fraudulent behaviour, or the conformity assessment body intentionally provides false information or conceals information, the accreditation body shall initiate its process for withdrawal of accreditation." As required by ANAB's Terms and Conditions for Accreditation (AG 1008 , ANAB is immediately suspending the laboratory's accreditation and initiating the process for withdrawal of accreditation. The laboratory shall notify its customers/stakeholders of the suspension and pending withdrawal within seven (7) calendar days from the date of this letter. 

Typically, suspension is a temporary restriction put in place until the laboratory conforms with the responsibilities and obligations of an accredited laboratory. Under the current circumstances, suspension is a temporary measure pending formal withdrawal. Withdrawal of the laboratory's accreditation will become effective thirty (30) calendar days from the date of this letter. The laboratory has the right to appeal this accreditation decision. The Appeal Form and a description of the Appeal Process are available on ANAB's website. The laboratory may also request an immediate, voluntary withdrawal of accreditation.

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