National Institute of Justice and West Virginia University
Crime laboratories are expected to provide consistent and high quality services across multiple domains to criminal justice stakeholders, even though these laboratories may have limited resources and constrained budgets. Operational practices can influence the laboratory’s ability to provide these services efficiently. However, assessing the efficiency of these practices requires the ability to both track performance metrics over time and compare metrics with similar laboratories, which may be resource intensive. Crime laboratories worldwide require universal metrics and frameworks to help them identify benchmark data and standard reporting tools to help them measure, monitor, and manage operational practices and stakeholder demands. Common industry standards, terminology, and measurement practices are needed to enhance management’s ability to diagnose and address performance issues and assess the effectiveness of improvement measures. The ability to assess these key metrics such as laboratory costs, workloads, staffing needs, and returns on investments is also critical for decision-makers, such as lab management, policymakers, and budget formulators.
“Iron sharpens iron. Project FORESIGHT is built on collaboration among peers, and enhanced with academic and economic support—it provides actionable and realistic data to assess how well a lab is performing.”
- Bruce Houlihan | Director, Orange County Crime Laboratory
Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence success story was provided by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.
The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this success story are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.