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Department of Forensic Sciences

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About the DFS

The Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) was established by the “Department of Forensic Sciences Act of 2011” by the District of Columbia City Council and became operational as an agency on October 1, 2012. The Department’s mission is to provide “high-quality, timely, accurate, and reliable forensic science services...[using] best practices and best available technology; a focus on unbiased science and transparency; and the goal of enhancing public safety." The DFS consists of the Forensic Science Laboratory Division, the Public Health Laboratory Division, and the Crime Scene Sciences Division. Housed in the new Consolidated Forensic Laboratory at 401 E Street SW, the DFS is co-located with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME).

The DFS provides science services upon request to District agencies, including the Metropolitan Police Department, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Health, the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, as well as to other law enforcement or investigative agencies.

A 2009 National Academies of Science report, "Strengthening Forensic Science in the US: A Path Forward," made numerous recommendations for improving the forensic sciences, including independence of forensic laboratories from law enforcement and mandatory accreditation. As the first independent forensic agency to be created since the 2009 NAS report, the DFS intends to pursue the goals of transparency, quality, accuracy, and scientific professionalism to inform the public with effective science.