Crime labs invest in Starlims solution
The Starlims web-based LIMS software is gaining ground in the forensics market. When the waiting time for DNA tests results from the state crime lab reached a year or longer, DNA analyst for the Beaufort County (SC) Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina, Timothy French, made the decision to use an outside LIMS provider. The Starlims informatics solution is a paperless system that includes crime scene inventories, property management and courtroom testimony tracking. It helps ensure compliance with regulatory standards, reduces costs, minimises errors and produces timely reports that help police and prosecutors make informed decisions.
Commenting that the forensics services laboratory lab handles about 9,000 cases a year, of which 8,000 are drug analysis and 1,000 require DNA evidence testing, French said: ‘We needed a commercial system to create our own DNA database and did not want to use multiple software programs. Our lab was sort of a guinea pig early on for Starlims in forensics.
‘When evidence comes into the lab, the DNA results are logged into the system and we generate reports that go to the requesting officer and the clerk of the court. Starlims has a rich set of functionalities that meets our needs very well. We get faster results from Starlims than we did when we had a staff person on the next floor tweaking a home grown system,’ he added.
The process of inspecting, gathering and recording all available evidence at crime scenes requires precise attention to detail. Starlims allows comprehensive documentation of the crime scene without needing to re-enter manually transcribed information and evidence technicians can generate crime scene reports on the spot. The need for paper log books or complex multiple data management programs is eliminated.
Robin Gall, forensics product manager at Starlims, has said that mobile informatics apps for both iOS and Android platforms are on the way that will enable investigators to document everything at a crime scene using a tablet computer. He added that the mobile crime scene and property room modules will seamlessly interact with the core LIMS web-based software and has the same barcode and chain of custody features.