Pursuant to Virginia Code § 9.1-1100, the Director of the Department of Forensic Science is appointed by the Governor of Virginia for a term of six years, subject to confirmation by the Virginia General Assembly. It is the responsibility of the Director to carry out the duties of the Department as specified by law and as further directed by the Governor. The qualifications of the Director are specified by the Virginia Forensic Science Board, and the Director serves as a member of the Department’s associated Scientific Advisory Committee.
The Department is also served by a Chief Deputy Director who is appointed by the Governor and whose responsibilities include public policy development and coordination with the Office of the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security and General Assembly.
The Department’s Deputy Director, who oversees the regional laboratories and the financial management of the agency, along with the Director of Technical Services, the Department Counsel, the Director’s Executive Assistant, a Senior Administrative Assistant and Legal Assistant comprise the remainder of the Director’s Office staff.
Linda Jackson, Department Director
Linda C. Jackson was initially appointed as the Director of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science by Governor McDonnell on February 25, 2013 to fulfill an unexpired term and was re-appointed in 2017 by Governor McAuliffe. She was re-appointed by Governor Youngkin effective January 15, 2024 for a six-year term.
Ms. Jackson has a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Wake Forest University and an M.S. in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She began her career with the Department in 1995 as a Controlled Substances Examiner and then was promoted to Mass Spectrometer Operator, Section Supervisor, Controlled Substances Section Chief and Chemistry Program Manager before assuming her current position. As Chemistry Program Manager, she managed all technical aspects of the Controlled Substances, Toxicology and Trace Evidence disciplines.
As Director, she has worked to increase laboratory transparency by making all Breath Alcohol instrument records and test results available online, offering scientific training to criminal attorneys and judges, and creating a public dashboard for case statistics. She has worked with the Department of Criminal Justice Services to publish annual seized drug statistics for use by Virginia public safety and public health agencies.
Ms. Jackson is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), the NIJ Forensic Laboratory Needs – Technology Working Group (FLN-TWG), the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD), the international Scientific Working Group for the Analysis of Seized Drug (SWGDRUG), the ASTM E-30 Committee on Forensic Science, and the Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Scientists (MAAFS). She served on the ASCLD Board of Directors from 2017 – 2021, the National Commission on Forensic Science from 2013 – 2017, and the White House Subcommittee on Forensic Sciences Interagency Working Group on Standards, Practices and Protocols from 2009 – 2012.