Post by Mr. George Johnston, WSP Forensic Laboratory Services Bureau Quality Process Manager.

“The 2016 American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) Early Career Achievement Award Winner is Ms. Kristina Hoffman, Washington State Patrol (WSP) Crime Lab Division-Marysville DNA.  Ms. Hoffman was nominated as a result of her dedication to the customers of the crime lab and her diligent work to foster a philosophy of continuous improvement in the crime lab division.

Throughout her career, Ms. Hoffman has shown a commitment to quality improvement.  Her most notable and most recent achievement in the crime lab division was to conduct a LEAN (Continuous Quality Improvement) project, seeking to reduce turn-around times and the overall DNA case backlog in the WSP Marysville Crime Lab.

She conducted this project as part of her studies to earn a Professional Science Masters (PSM) in Molecular Biosciences through Washington State University, which she completed in 2015. She spent many hours analyzing processes, looking for ways to eliminate waste, and improve efficiency.  At the end of the LEAN project, the DNA section closed more cases than at any time in the lab’s history, while reducing the backlog by 10% and reducing the turn-around time from an average of 90 days to 70 days.

Kristina presented the LEAN project results to the WSP executive staff and was awarded the agency-wide Exemplary Lean Project Award for 2015 section and is a featured LEAN case study on the Results WA webpage.  The competition is held every year as part of the Governor’s Results Washington initiative to find innovative LEAN processes to reduce waste in state government.

Ms. Hoffman also presented the results of her project at the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors 2016 Symposium.  Her contributions and commitment to continuous improvement resulted in her being named as the WSP Crime Lab Division LEAN Coordinator.

Kristina’s contributions to the WSP Crime Lab system have been easily recognizable.  She was named Marysville Crime Lab’s Employee of the Year twice, in 2013 and 2015, for her continued level of excellence in customer service and commitment to excellence.  She has also been recognized with a Chief’s coin for outstanding productivity in DNA casework while maintaining a commitment to quality in 2012.

In addition to her numerous contributions to DNA casework and improvements in processes through application of lean, Kristina also serves as the Marysville Crime Lab CODIS Administrator.  She was awarded a commendation award for exceptional service as the CODIS Administrator in 2012 after undergoing FBI and U.S. DOJ Office of Inspector General audits of the CODIS program with no negative findings.

The award for AAFS Outstanding Early Career Achievement in Forensic Science is very prestigious and competitive, and the Crime Lab Division is very honored to have one of our own receive the 2016 award.  This is a well-deserved honor and one which Kristina has certainly earned.

Congratulations, Kristina, and all of the Marysville Lab!”