Jennifer Harmon, BS, MPA

Crime Laboratory Director

Jennifer is currently the Crime Laboratory Director for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s Regional Crime Lab overseeing a staff of nearly 90 in nine forensic disciplines and multiple budgets in excess of $24M; successfully drafting nearly $13M in grant award funding for Orange and San Diego Counties. She completed her undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Science in Biology, option in Physiology, double minor in Chemistry and Political Science from California State University at Long Beach in 2001 and in 2018 obtained a Master’s in Public Administration from Brandman University. She began her career in forensics as a volunteer intern with the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department, Coroner Division, and the Orange County Crime Laboratory. Jennifer has more than 16 years of crime lab management and leadership experience with her most recent prior position as the Orange County Crime Laboratory’s Assistant Director over the Forensic Chemistry Bureau. In that position, Jennifer, oversaw Toxicology, Forensic Alcohol, Controlled Substances, and Clandestine Laboratory Field Investigation operations. She additionally managed the laboratory’s Evidence Control Unit for more than one year. Under Jennifer’s leadership, the Orange County Crime Laboratory’s Forensic Chemistry Bureau incorporated Lean Six Sigma process improvements, obtained more than $2.5M in grant funding from state and federal partners, and developed and implemented state-of-the-art technology and forensic methodology. Her work of more than 13 years with ANAB, the forensic laboratories’ accreditation body, as a technical assessor in both testing and calibration, along with her facilitation commitments with the County of Orange’s servant leadership program helped support these efforts.

Jennifer is a technical expert in both postmortem and ante-mortem toxicology. She has participated in numerous controlled drinking studies and ride-a-longs with several state and local law enforcement agencies.  She has also audited the Drug Recognition Evaluation (DRE) Program and observed evaluations with the California Highway Patrol of individuals suspected to being under the influence of drugs.  She has testified in nearly 200 cases involving drugs, alcohol, and poly-drug use.  Jennifer has presented for numerous professional organizations at the local, state, and national level including the California District Attorneys Association, Governors Highway Safety Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Indiana University’s Borkenstein Drug Course, the National Governors Association, the National Judicial College, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  She is a past president of the California Association of Crime Laboratory Directors, a past president of the California Association of Toxicologists, is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Drug Evaluation and Classification Program’s Technical Advisory Panel and has testified in front of the California State Senate and Assembly Public Safety Committees as well as the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Digital Commerce. In 2018, Jennifer was the recipient of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Public Service Award for her work in improving forensic drug testing and screening in California.

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