Crime Laboratory System Sections

Biological Sciences

The Biological Science Section includes the DNA Casework Section as well as the New York State DNA Databank.

Casework

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:

https://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/forensic/familialsearch.htm

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.

FACT SHEETS:

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

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    Biological Science Casework

    A guide for agencies requesting body fluid screening (serology) and/or DNA testing. The document outlines the Biology-specific Crime Laboratory submission and testing limits.

     

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    DNA/Serology Submissions (LAB-5)

    This form must be used by agencies to request Serology and/or DNA testing at the Crime Laboratory and must accompany the LAB-2 and LAB-2A. Please note: This form must be filled out electronically.

     

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    Biological Science Additional Testing Request (LAB-38)

    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.

     

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    Cold Casework Request (LAB-39)

    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.

     

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Seized Drugs

Seized Drugs

The Seized Drugs 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.

Destruction of Narcotics

By law, the Superintendent of State Police is authorized to and be responsible for the lawful destruction of seized narcotics.

Evidence Receiving

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.

For seal, packaging and submission information, please refer to Evidence Receiving Fact Sheet.

Crime Laboratory Evidence Submission

Firearms

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)

The NIBIN Program automates ballistics evaluations and provides actionable investigative leads in a timely manner. NIBIN is the only interstate automated ballistic imaging network in operation in the United States and is available to most major population centers in the United States.

Prior to the NIBIN Program, firearms examiners performed this process manually which was extremely labor intensive. To use NIBIN, firearms examiners or technicians enter cartridge casing evidence into the Integrated Ballistic Identification System. These images are correlated against the database. Law enforcement can search against evidence from their jurisdiction, neighboring ones, and others across the country. This program is one investigative tool accessed by law enforcement that allows each of us to share information and cooperation easily making all of us more effective in closing cases. Source: Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol and Firearms

Forensic Identification

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.

Latent Processing:
Evidence Processing (LP) – A variety of techniques are used to detect, visualize, and preserve friction skin impressions (such as finger or palm prints) that may be present on evidentiary items.

Latent Examinations:
Friction Ridge Impression Examination (LE) – Impressions are assessed to determine their value for comparison. If they are found to be suitable, the impressions can be compared to known exemplars, three possible conclusions can be reached following the examination: identification, exclusion, or inconclusive. Unidentified impressions can also be searched against prints of known individuals contained in state and federal databases utilizing the Statewide Automated Biometric Identification System (SABIS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Next Generation Identification (FBI -NGI) system, respectively.

Quality Assurance Review:
Quality Assurance Review (QAR) – A review of the findings of a field Forensic Identification Unit (FIU) in cases where they have made an identification of a prosecutorial friction ridge impression. The conclusions of the field FIU members are verified and the authenticity of the friction ridge impressions are evaluated.

For more information, please refer to Forensic Identification Unit Fact Sheet.

Toxicology

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.

Breath Testing

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.

Discovery
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.

Breath Test Instrument Certification Documents

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

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].

Trace Evidence

The Trace Evidence Section examines evidence including fire debris, physical comparisons, lachrymators (tear gas, pepper spray) and unknown substances.

Examiners employ an arsenal of high-tech instruments including:

  • Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer/Mass Selective Detector
  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrophotometer

For more information, please refer to Trace Evidence Fact Sheet.