The FMCP is the nation’s first and only body to certify crime laboratory leaders in laboratory management. The FMCP program provides criteria to training and education providers that cover a comprehensive, consensus-based curriculum to prepare forensic scientists to become leaders. The training is designed for forensic science professionals aspiring to be leaders within their laboratories, unit supervisors, managers, and executives in public laboratories as well as units within police agencies or commercial laboratories. By requiring providers to maintain a specific level of topical coverage, the FMCP targets the students who finish those programs, offering them an opportunity to achieve professional certification in addition to completing the required training.
Public crime laboratories are often led by technical professionals who have demonstrated top-notch skills as forensic practitioners but who lack training in leadership and public sector management. The 2009 report of the National Academy of Sciences, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, advocated for improved leadership training and detailed specific gaps for technical leaders and managers. In addition, according to the Innocence Project, 45% of wrongful convictions are related to the misapplication of forensic science, including improperly applied techniques, inaccurate testimony, and lack of quality measures. The training and certification provided by the FMCP seeks to improve the ability of crime laboratory leaders to instill science-based standards, a positive work environment, and efficient case flow. Improved management will address concerns related to forensic negligence and misconduct by improving oversight within the laboratories themselves. In this way, the FMCP complements efforts to improve forensic practice at the national level by providing a critical mechanism for the adoption of rigorous best practices right down to the unit level.
The FMCP has been structured to demonstrate independence as a certifying body that administers a certification program which demonstrates competency of the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to be a leader in a top-performing forensic laboratory. Additionally, the competency requirements are based on consensus developed minimum standards in four key content areas as follows:
- Human Resources & Legal
- Laboratory Operations
The Certified Forensic Manager – I (Supervisor) is the starting point for all CFMs.
CFM-I establishes the foundation of leadership, providing the skills, insight, and guidance to propel graduates into the next level of responsibility.
“Level 1s” exhibit all of the following:
- The ability to supervise of a team of individuals within a forensic science organization with well-defined roles and responsibilities
- The essential tenants of leadership
- A strong desire to grow both their team’s abilities and their own
The Certified Forensic Manager – II (Manager) builds on the foundation of Level I with in-depth analysis of leadership and management.
CFM-II expands on the concept of leadership, providing the skills, insight, and guidance to propel graduates into the next level of responsibility.
“Level 2s” have the ability to:
- Manage a forensic science organization with multiple teams
- Develop and implement new business and technical processes
- Lead and manage personnel to meet organizational missions and objectives
The Certified Forensic Manager – III (Director) culminates all the skills learned in Levels I and II with an introspective and rigorous thesis to certify the next generation of forensic science leaders.
The CFM-III is the top of the Certified Forensic Manager, ambitious to take on the responsibility of laboratory-wide director positions while maintaining a reflective relationship with their own leadership journey.
“Level 3s” have the ability to:
- Direct a forensic science organization or system, including the
development of policies, procedures or innovations
- Anticipate, mitigate and solve complex organizational problems
- Instill a leadership culture within a forensic science organization or system
- Provide leadership for the forensic science community