Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) has announced that he will introduce legislation to reform the forensic science field in early 2011, reports California Watch.
The bill is, in part, a response to allegations that a technician with the San Francsico PD's crime lab was skimming cocaine. Chief George Gascon later decided to outsource the lab's work.
The Criminal Justice and Forensic Reform Act of 2011, as it will initialy be known, would:
- create an Office of Forensic Science and a Forensic Science Board charged with establishing and enforcing accreditation and certification standards, developing research strategies, and implementing those strategies with consistency across the field.
- give the director of the Office of Forensic Science power to grant, deny, revoke, limit or suspend an accreditation and determine if lab employees are in compliance with certification standards.
- promote research and provide grant funding and technical assistance to forensic labs.