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Crime Laboratories - Fbi Crime Laboratory

forensic unit units evidence

The Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory is the most advanced and comprehensive crime laboratory in the world. Not only does it provide scientific evaluations of evidence for U.S. law enforcement agencies, but it also cooperates in sharing information worldwide. The FBI is a federal government agency under the U.S. Department of Justice.

The FBI Lab is made up of twenty-five departments called units organized in two branches, the Forensic Analysis Branch and the Operational Support Branch. The units serve such functions as forensic analysis, scientific analysis, forensic science support, operational response, and operations support. The FBI Lab includes units for firearms and toolmarks, latent prints, questioned documents, chemistry, trace evidence, DNA, and explosives, as well as a wide array of specialized units needed in the twenty-first century. For example, one unit carries out forensic examinations of hazardous materials —chemical, biological, and nuclear. Another unit sends out bomb and crisis response teams that collect and preserve evidence under the most difficult conditions.

There is also a specialized photography unit in the FBI Lab, and a graphics and design unit that recreates exact or scaled down replicas of crime scenes. The FBI Lab Outreach provides educational and training opportunities for lab staff, FBI special agents, local and state law enforcement agencies, and persons involved with forensic laboratories throughout the country.


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