The Biological Science Section includes the DNA Casework Section as well as the New York State DNA Databank.
The Biological Science Casework Section provides submitting agencies with access to Forensic Serology and Forensic DNA Testing of selected biological materials that are associated with criminal investigations.
Forensic Serology is the identification, collection and preservation of biological materials that may be used in DNA analysis.
Forensic DNA Analysis is the process of developing DNA profiles from biological evidence to use for comparison purposes. These profiles can be used to develop investigative leads, identify perpetrators of crimes and exonerate the innocent. Should a suitable DNA profile be developed from crime scene evidence, it may be entered into the FBI-administered Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) for searching at the local, state and/or national levels.
DNA Databank / SDIS
The New York State DNA Databank Laboratory is responsible for processing Convicted Offender DNA samples submitted from any offender convicted on or after August 1, 2012 of a felony or Penal Law misdemeanor. Subject DNA samples are also submitted for processing pursuant to the state’s Subject regulations from offenders who provide a sample as a condition of a plea agreement, release, parole, or probation.
The DNA Databank laboratory utilizes validated DNA methodologies and instrumentation to efficiently process and analyze offender DNA samples to develop DNA profiles for entry into the State CODIS Database (SDIS). CODIS is a computer database, which consists of a set of indices that electronically store both offender and forensic (crime scene evidence) DNA profiles. The offender and forensic indices are searched against each other to generate DNA matches and provide investigative leads to the law enforcement community.
The DNA Databank laboratory is also responsible for processing Familial Search requests. Familial Searching is a multistep process of statistical analyses and DNA comparisons, used to screen an offender database for the best candidates to be potential biological relatives of a target profile. A target profile is the unknown profile being searched and can be either a forensic or unidentified human remains DNA profile that is associated with a serious crime.
Familial Searching in New York State requires the interaction of multiple agencies, including the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, the New York State Police DNA Databank/State CODIS Unit, the respective District Attorney, Law Enforcement Agency, and the local DNA casework laboratory that performed the evidentiary testing.
Information on the application process and requirements can be found on the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services website:
Familial Search vs Investigative Genetic Genealogy
Familial Search and Investigative Genetic Genealogy are techniques utilized to identify potential biological relatives of a target profile. While not the only difference, Familial Search utilizes offender databases to obtain the known profile where Investigative Genetic Genealogy utilizes consumer genealogy databases. Investigative Genetic Genealogy is NOT a process provided by the New York State Police, however it could be a valuable tool in unsolved cases.
- For more information regarding scope of testing and submission requirements please refer to the Databank Fact Sheet.
- For more information regarding Familial Search please refer to the Familial Search Fact Sheet.
- For more information regarding Investigative Genetic Genealogy please refer to the Investigative Genetic Genealogy Fact Sheet.
The DNA Databank is administered by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Office of Forensic Services as set forth in Article 49-B of the Executive Law. Please refer to the OFS website for more information.
Crime Laboratory Evidence Submission Information
A guide for agencies regarding DNA profile requirements for eligibility for upload and searching in the CODIS.
This form must be completed when Serology/DNA Crime Laboratory testing results have previously been issued for a case and additional evidence Serology/DNA Crime Laboratory testing is requested. Please note: To avoid delay in decisions regarding supplemental requests for testing, this form must be submitted electronically to a Crime Laboratory Bioscience Case Manager at [email protected] for review and consideration prior to the submission of the associated evidence. Approved requests will proceed to submission of the associated evidence accompanied by the LAB-2 / LAB-2A.
This form must be completed to initiate a request for cold casework. Please note: This request is generally associated with Homicide and/or Sexual Assault cases. Approved applications will be limited to a single (1) submission of biological evidence consisting of a maximum of 10 evidence items. This form must be submitted electronically to a Crime Laboratory Bioscience Case Manager at [email protected] for review and consideration prior to the submission of the associated evidence, in addition to the LAB-2 / LAB-2A.
Drug Chemistry & Clandestine Labs
The Drug Chemistry Section analyzes substances seized under the state's laws restricting the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of abusive-type drugs.
Case submission types include drug sales, possessions, clandestine drug labs, overdoses, date rapes and drug substitution cases.
Drug evidence submitted to the section is analyzed through a variety of methods, including:
- Color testing
- Microscopic analysis
- Gas chromatograph screening
- Thin layer chromatography
- Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS)
- Infrared spectrophotometry (FTIR)
- Liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS).
Following analysis, forensic scientists interpret the instrumental data and prepare reports of their findings.
These reports are used in criminal court proceedings; often the forensic scientist is asked to provide expert testimony in court.
For more information please refer to Seized Drug Section Fact Sheet.
Clandestine Drug Laboratories
Specially trained forensic scientists accompany the NYSP Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team (CCSERT) when they respond to a suspected clandestine drug laboratory and:
- Provide expert testimony regarding the practical and theoretical aspects associated with the synthesis of methamphetamine.
- Serve as scientific advisors
- Assist in the securing and processing of evidence
- Aid in dismantling the laboratory while emphasizing safety and health concerns.
Destruction of Narcotics
By law, the Superintendent of State Police is authorized to and be responsible for the lawful destruction of seized narcotics.
Personnel in Evidence Receiving are responsible for taking in, processing, securing and maintaining the chain of custody for criminal evidence in cases submitted by law enforcement personnel.
Because evidence may be examined by different sections under the control of the laboratory system, staff involved in the process must conform to strict protocols and policies.
All evidence movement is documented via the chain of custody section in LIMS.
Evidence technician scans LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) bar code during her preparation to return evidence to the submitting agency.
For more information, please refer to Evidence Receiving Fact Sheet.
- Biological DNA and toxicological specimens
- Trace items
- Latent fingerprints
- Fire debris
- Items associated with computer crimes
Crime Laboratory Evidence Submission
The Firearms Unit is responsible for identifying, examining and analyzing firearms and related expended ammunition components.
Firearms examiners perform operability testing, microscopic comparison of fired evidence, Gun Shot Residue (GSR) range determinations, General Rifling Characteristics (GRC) determinations, Caliber determinations, and Serial Number restorations, in criminal cases.
For more information, please refer to Firearms Fact Sheet.
National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN)
Staff use specialized microscopes and computers to capture digital images of firing pin impressions and breach-face marks on expended cartridge casings as part of NIBIN.
NIBIN is a computer network maintained by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that enables partner crime laboratories to search ballistic databases nationally for links to other cartridge casings, whether recovered at a crime scene or produced in the lab through test-fires of a recovered firearm.
Destruction of Weapons
By law, the Superintendent of State Police is authorized to destroy "nuisance" weapons-guns or firearms-which are unwanted, surrendered or which have been used in the commission of a crime.
The unit that conducts Latent Print analysis for the Crime Laboratory System is the Forensic Identification Unit or the “FIU”. This unit, comprised of sworn Members of the Division of State Police, is one of ten such units within the Division, however is the only one that is under the direction of the Forensic Investigation Center (FIC). The remaining FIUs are located across New York State within each of the Troop Headquarters. The FIU located at the FIC conducts a variety of analysis on submitted items of evidence which are separated into 3 different subdivisions; Latent Processing (LP) cases, Latent Examination (LE) cases, and Quality Assurance Review (QAR) cases.
LP cases involve the forensic testing of submitted items of evidence for the presence of friction skin impressions, such as fingerprints and palm prints. The processes utilized to develop these impressions vary depending on the composition of the item, and may include the use of alternate light sources, chemical applications, and fingerprint powders.
LE cases involve the evaluation of these developed friction ridge impressions to determine their value for identification and ultimately their comparison to a known source, such as an inked fingerprint card. If sufficient agreement exists between the developed friction ridge impressions and the known inked impression, an identification may be declared.
Quality Assurance Review:
QAR cases occur when one of the nine Troop FIUs identify a developed friction ridge impression to a potential suspect or a defendant. The case is then submitted to the FIC/FIU where the authenticity of the friction ridge impression and the identifications are verified.
Statewide Automated Biometric Identification System (SABIS):
This unit also serves as one of 13 satellite sites for SABIS. Sufficient impressions that have yet to be identified may be entered into SABIS where they are subsequently searched against the known impressions (finger and palm) of more than 10 million individuals on file with the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). Unknown impressions may additionally be searched against the FBI’s Next Generation Identification System (FBI-NGI).
For more information, please refer to Forensic Identification Unit Fact Sheet.
The Toxicology section provides analyses and expert testimony in support of impaired driving investigations. Their work supports highway safety enforcement involving charges such as Vehicular Homicide/Manslaughter, Criminally Negligent Homicide, Vehicular Assault, DWI, and DWAI-Drugs. They test biological specimens (primarily blood and urine) for the presence or absence of alcohol and other drugs and interpret those findings for court proceedings.
The scientists use a variety of analytical instruments and techniques including liquid and gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and solid phase extraction.
For more information, please refer to Toxicology Fact Sheet.
This section is a subset of Toxicology and supports NYSP's Traffic Services Breath Testing Program by performing the maintenance, repairs and certification of the State Police's Draeger 9510 breath testing equipment. They also support the breath testing programs through the certification of reference materials (simulator solution and reference gas) used by law enforcement agencies statewide and provide expert testimony on alcohol-related matters.
New York State Police Laboratory records related to CPL 245.20(1)(s) are now available online.
Breath Testing Records related to NYSP breath testing instruments, Draeger 9510 and the Reference Dry Gas used by NYSP, are available at the link below.
You will need to know the Instrument Serial Number and/or the Reference Material Lot Number in order to perform your search.
NOTE: Records related to simulator solution testing performed for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) are provided directly to DCJS. Any requests for those records can be directed to DCJS.
Toxicology Instrument Records are available at the link below.
Toxicology Instrument Records are searchable by the instrument name.
NOTE: A list of the toxicology instruments used in a case can be found in your Discovery Packet.
Questions or concerns can be emailed to [email protected].
The Trace Evidence Section examines evidence including fire debris, footwear and tire impressions, paint, lamp on/off examinations, lachrymators (tear gas, "pepper spray") and unknown substances.
Examiners employ an arsenal of high-tech instruments including:
- Polarizing microscopes
- Comparison Microscopes
- Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer/Mass Selective Detector
- Pyrolysis Gas Chromatograph/Mass Chromatograph/Mass Selective Detector
- Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrophotometer
For more information, please refer to Trace Evidence Fact Sheet.