The DFS’ Forensic Science Laboratory Division (FSL) collects, examines, analyzes, and reports on physical evidence submitted in criminal cases. The FSL is authorized to examine evidence submitted by any DC governmental agency investigating a criminal offense. Federal agencies, such as the US Park Police, are also able to use the services of the FSL.
Currently the FSL offers Forensic Biology, Forensic Chemistry and Fingerprint examinations.
- Forensic Biology: The analysis of biological tissues, such as blood, semen and skin, for genetic characteristics. When compared to reference samples from a known source, modern forensic DNA analysis can be extremely specific about establishing identity.
- Forensic Chemistry: The application of chemistry, and its subfield, toxicology, to unknown samples presented in multiple forms with a focus on controlled dangerous substances. The Forensic Chemistry Unit (FCU) provides analyses relating to not only criminal seizures, but also real-time drug supply trends in the district. Within FCU, the Clinical Toxicology Unit (CTU) provide surveillance data anonymously collected from harm reduction centers and needle exchange service providers. The FCU and the CTU partner with numerous organizations and agencies at local, district/state, and federal levels to provide these details quickly to better serve the public at large.
- Fingerprint Analysis: The examination of prints, both visible and latent, left behind from the friction ridge on human skin, typically the fingertips. Many methods are available to visualize prints, including physical, chemical, and through various light sources, allowing them to be photographed and compared.