Davis County crime lab seeks accreditation

Posted at 10:37 PM, Nov 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-25 00:37:53-05

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah – The Davis County Sheriff’s Office crime lab has been operating for decades, but now they’re working toward getting accreditation.

Officials said the process is one way of ensuring authorities are using the latest technologies and staying up to date at the lab.

Crime Lab Detective Chad Nicholls said the accreditation is a worthwhile goal.

"It’s kind of like a person who goes to school and has some training versus a person that's gone to school and had some training and has the degree,” he said. “So for one thing, it kind of gives you more credibility."

Sgt. David Bardall of the Davis County Sheriff’s Office said authorities across the country are cooperating with greater frequency and ease.

"You now have a dialogue on a national level rather than just on a local level, so you're able to talk to people, whether it's on the west coast or on the east coast, about what has worked for them, what hasn't worked for them,” he said.

Nicholls said technology in their industry is constantly evolving.

"You could take an envelope... and with the use of a laser, by shining the laser across the envelope, you can visualize fingerprint impressions that are invisible to the naked eye, and that are invisible to any other type of fingerprint process,” he said.

The crime scene investigators in Davis County deal with a variety of situations.

"We'll go on anything from homicides, which we have, to officer involved shootings, rape cases and to the more benign things that might be just vehicle burglaries, criminal mischief calls—that sort of thing,” Bardall said.

Bardall said evidence comes in many forms: "Evidence can be anything that can relate to the crime that has occurred, and so is that trace evidence? Does that mean that a hair fiber, can it be soil samples, can it be blood, can it be something larger like a fingerprint? All these things are evidence."

Many crime labs in the country are not accredited, but there has recently been a push in that direction. Bardall said the process is one he is enjoying.

"It takes some work and some vigilance to stay current with the changes, and to me that's exciting,” he said.