Earlier this year, Phoenix became the only municipal police department in the country - and one of nine agencies in the world - to have its mobile crime-scene specialists accredited by the same agency that lends credibility to crime labs. The hope is that the designation will help the department maintain consistent investigative standards in an era of rising public interest.

While municipal agencies have the option to become accredited, few invite auditors into their labs. Many agencies prefer internal audits to the rigorous record-keeping and training necessary to receive the support of the International Organization for Standardization.

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