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Accreditation Advisory
Committee (ad-hoc)


It shall be the responsibility of the Accreditation Advisory Committee to serve AFTE members in the following manner:

  • Report information to AFTE Members regarding new accreditation
    standards and/or new interpretation of those standards.
  • Provide general assistance to AFTE Members who are seeking
    accreditation or reaccreditation.
  • Provide general assistance in the development of compliant
    laboratory operating procedures
  • Keep AFTE Members informed of changing developments related to these issues


Submitted by Jay Jarvis, Chair

The purpose of the Accreditation Advisory Committee is to provide assistance to AFTE members with issues related to laboratory accreditation. The committee is comprised of AFTE members who have first hand experience from working in an accredited laboratory and have served as laboratory inspectors for ASCLD/LAB.

The 2003 ASCLD/LAB Delegate Assembly approved the implementation of a dual-track accreditation program which was implemented effective April 1, 2004. In addition to the ongoing accreditation program which is now referred to as the Legacy Program, ASCLD/LAB has initiated the ASCLD/LAB-International Accreditation Program which is based on the ISO 17025 Standard and Supplemental Requirements which include the essential elements of the Legacy Program and relevant requirements of ILAC G19.

The committee received one request for assistance during 2004 concerning laboratory accreditation issues. In addition, Committee Chair John Collins was asked by the AFTE Board of Directors to draft a position letter concerning proposed changes to the 2005 ASCLD/LAB Accreditation Manual which directly affected the AFTE membership. Based on the stance taken by AFTE, the proposals were amended and resubmitted to the Delegate Assembly for a vote in May 2005.

John Collins submitted his resignation as chair of this committee in March 2005. AFTE President Ron Marrs appointed Jay Jarvis to fill the vacancy as the Committee Chair. Dom Denio also requested to be removed from the Committee.


Submitted by: John Collins, Chair & Dominic Denio

The ASCLD-LAB delegate assembly is currently voting on whether or not ASCLD-LAB should begin a "Dual-Track" accreditation program. One track would be called the Legacy Program, while the other would be a new ISO Certified Program. The current climate within ASCLD and ASCLD-LAB indicates that ASCLD-LAB will become an ISO certified accrediting body and will accredit laboratories under the existing ASCLD-LAB document and the new ISO 17025 standard for Testing and Calibration Laboratories. This initiative fell short of the 2/3 vote required for passage by only four votes in 2002. Some modifications have been made by ASCLD-LAB and it is expected to pass in 2003.

The introduction of the ISO 17025 standard will not significantly impact firearm & toolmark examiners at the bench. One example of an ISO 17025 standard that will come into play is the requirement that laboratories have a procedure for calculating and reporting, when applicable, the uncertainty of reported measurements. This will include trigger-pull measurements that are routinely reported by most firearm & toolmark examiners. Firearms examiners will likely be asked to calculate a measurement uncertainty for their trigger-pulls. Because this uncertainty must be appropriate for the sensitivity of the test and its applicability to the submitting agency, most laboratories will likely report a measurement uncertainty of approximately pound.

The Accreditation Advisory Committee is a newly formed entity within AFTE and has yet to be announced to AFTE Members seeking accreditation or reaccreditation. Because AFTE is the professional organization for our discipline, the committee can serve our membership by beginning to educate firearm & toolmark examiners about the impact of ISO 17025. To this end, John Collins has made contact with the host committee for the Vancouver 2004 AFTE Training Seminar and will be giving a presentation on crime laboratory accreditation and documentation, to include ISO 17025. This will be the first formal introduction of ISO 17025 to the AFTE Membership.

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Copyright 2001 Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners (AFTE).
All rights reserved.  Revised: July 25, 2009.