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Crime Laboratories

Crime Laboratories

In 1910 Professor Edmund Locard (1877–1966) of the University of Lyons, France, established the first crime lab based upon the idea that criminals leave behind traces of themselves with every crime. Using Locard's principles, Los Angeles, California, police chief August Vollmer (1875–1955) established one of the first modern crime laboratories in the United States in 1923.

Vollmer recognized the need to establish a reliable way of analyzing clues from a crime scene. Chief Vollmer modernized not only the Los Angeles Police Department but law enforcement in general by introducing the use of: (1) a crime investigation laboratory; (2) a fingerprint and handwriting classification system; (3) a workable system for filing information about the way a crime was committed; and, (4) the creation of a police school where scientists would teach courses in the study of criminal behavior or criminology.

The Bureau of Investigation, renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935, continued Vollmer's work in 1932 with the creation of the first national crime lab in Washington, D.C.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal LawCrime Laboratories - Historical Perspective, Crime Laboratories, Fbi Crime Laboratory, Engineering Research Facility, Sniper Attacks, Solving Old Mysteries - Modern forensic investigations