Crime scene response vehicle bolsters accredited Long Beach police forensic department

The Long Beach police department's crime lab is held to internationally recognized standards.

Jaysha Patel Image
Saturday, August 14, 2021
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Long Beach police department's crime lab is maintaining accreditation by going through annual proficiency testing, training, and on site check ins.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Evidence from crime scenes in Long Beach goes directly to the police department's crime lab where officials inspect it.

Officials say crime scene and firearms analysis are done often in Long Beach.

"General average turnaround time for firearms analysis is 45 to 60 days, but if we triage and we determine to put something up ahead, then we always try to be flexible enough to meet those needs," said Glen Spencer, the forensic science services division administrator.

In early August, the forensic department received a new crime scene response vehicle. Previously, they were using a truck to pick up evidence at major crime scenes.

Now, this new van will be equipped with what officials need, including evidence markers, gloves, and plenty of room to collect evidence.

"The citizens of Long Beach can rest assured that when evidence comes to us, we are scientists. We are doing our analysis as scientists, impartial, unbiased," expressed Pontius.

It's also important to note the lab is accredited. That means officials go the extra mile to make sure their work is held to the internationally recognized standards.

In some states it's mandatory for crime labs to be accredited, but in the state of California it's voluntary.

"All of our policies and procedures have to be written. They have to be reviewed on a regular basis and all the procedures have to be validated and verified that they're fit for use," said Amanda Pontius the quality assurance manager.

Accreditation is not cheap. The price can vary depending on the size of the department.

In 2018, during the Long Beach crime lab's initial accreditation, it cost around $15,000.

The lab also has annual proficiency testing, training, and on site check ins.

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