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The Suffolk County Crime Laboratory is a multi-section, full service, internationally accredited forensic laboratory operating out of its Hauppauge office.

The multiple sections of the Laboratory include Biological Sciences, Firearms, Questioned Documents, Trace Evidence, Drug Chemistry, Crime Scene Investigations and Reconstruction, Crash Reconstruction, Quality Control and Evidence Control.  These individual sections are further described.

The Crime Laboratory is a service agency providing services to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, the Suffolk County Police Department and all other Police Departments within the county, the New York State Police Department, and the United States Attorney’s Office.  Services are also provided to the County Attorney’s Office in civil matters.  Other agencies within the county may also request assistance from the Crime Laboratory.

In addition to the wide variety of forensic services provided, many of the personnel in the crime laboratory will respond to crime scenes throughout the county; these may include homicides, death investigations and leaving the scene vehicle collisions.  Laboratory personnel responding to these incidents are responsible for the collection, preservation, analysis and reconstruction of the scene evidence.

All crime laboratory analysts working case related evidence are also responsible for giving expert witness testimony on any related trials.

The laboratory maintains a very intricate quality assurance program throughout the year in order to sustain its accreditation. This program includes proficiency testing all analysts and regular court room testimony review.

All services provided by the laboratory are monitored annually by the New York State Commission of Forensic Sciences.

The crime laboratory has a very involved college student internship program that allows students pursuing science degrees the opportunity to spend several weeks at the laboratory working side by side with the forensic analysts.  Many of these students graduate and pursue careers in the forensic sciences.

 

WORKLOAD STATISTICS

  2013 2014 2015 2016 (Est.)
Total Case Reports Assigned 5,546 5,151 4,762 5,538
Total Cases Closed(1) 4,971 4,887 5,047 5,123
Cases Closed by Analysis(2) 3,900 3,137 3,543 3,798
Cases Closed Administratively(3) 1,071 1,750 1,502 1,325
Total Samples Submitted(4) 33,293 38,619 39,310 57,502
Total Samples Analyzed(5) 14,611 16,583 14,732 12,283

 

  1. Represents Specific Year and Backlogged Cases Closed.
  2. Represents Cases Submitted During the Specific Year Closed by Analysis.
  3. Represents Specific Year and Backlogged Cases Closed by "File Only" Report. "File Only" represents a procedure in which cases are reviewed, determined to be of the lowest priority for examination, and forwarded back to the submitting agency without examination. It is a procedure designed to optimize the existing resources of the laboratory but should not be viewed as anything less than what it really is...crisis management!
  4. Items Submitted - For the purposes of this report, these are defined as those items that were actually inventoried by the laboratory during case examinations. This figure does not reflect those items not inventoried in backlogged cases awaiting analysis or those returned using the "File Only" procedure.  Increased number of submissions of heroin packets.
  5. Samples Analyzed - This number reflects the number of samples removed from items that were examined. It is quite common to have one item yield several samples for analysis.

Chemistry Section

The forensic scientists of the Suffolk County Crime Laboratory Drug Chemistry section are responsible for the qualitative (identity) and quantitative (purity) analysis of case submissions from various law enforcement agencies testing for the presence or absence of controlled substances.  Analysis is performed utilizing color tests, microcrystalline, thin layer chromatography, and highly specialized instrumentation to support the District Attorney’s Office prosecution in criminal cases.

 


  2013 2014 2015 2016 (Est.)
Total Case Reports Assigned 2,954 2,620 2,254 2,763
Total Cases Closed(1) 2,461 2,408 2,575 2,633
Cases Closed by Analysis(2) 2,208 1,447 1,928 2,298
Cases Closed Administratively(3) 253 961 647 335
Total Samples Submitted(4) 20,928 27,532 36,732* 50,601*
Total Samples Analyzed(5) 2,866 5,553 8,516* 5,718*

*Beginning in 2015, NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) initiated standardized definitions for “items submitted” and “items analyzed”. Therefore, estimated values have been applied to these standardized statewide definitions.

Biological Science

The Biological Sciences Section of the Crime Laboratory performs analysis of biological material deposited during the commission of crimes such as homicide, sexual assault, home invasion, assault, burglary, and hit and run fatalities in addition to assisting in the identification of human remains by the Medical Examiner.  The evidence is examined for the presence of body fluids such as blood, semen and saliva followed by DNA testing to determine the source of the sample.  Comparison of DNA from a suspect to DNA from the crime scene will either link them to the crime or prove their innocence.  If there is no suspect, the crime scene DNA profile is entered into the FBI’s combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database where it may be linked to other cases or to a convicted offender whose DNA is in the database. Since the Crime Lab joined CODIS in 2000, DNA evidence analyzed by the Biological Sciences Section has aided police agencies in over 1800 investigations.

 

  2013 2014 2015 2016 (Est.)
Total Case Reports Assigned 1,567 1,470 1,392 1,551
Total Cases Closed(1) 1,571 1,467 1,397 1,248
Cases Closed by Analysis(2) 908 787 766 564
Cases Closed Administratively(3) 663 680 631 684
Total Samples Submitted(4) 7,165 7,075 1,476* 3,396*
Total Samples Analyzed(5) 5,586 5,391 3,192* 3,090*

*Beginning in 2015, NYS DCJS initiated standardized definitions for “items submitted” and “items 

  analyzed”. Therefore, estimated values have been applied to these standardized statewide definitions.

Criminalistics

The staff of this section specialize in the microscopic and instrumental analysis of a diverse spectrum of physical evidence. The cases actively investigated by this section include homicide, rape and sexual assault, hit and run, arson, assault, and burglary. This section contains five subsections, each responsible for a different area of analysis: hair and fiber analysis, paint and polymer analysis, glass and fire debris analysis, shoe print and tire track comparisons, and food or product tampering.

*Beginning in 2015, NYS DCJS initiated standardized definitions for “items submitted” and “items analyzed”. Therefore, estimated values have been applied to these standardized statewide definitions.

 



  2013 2014 2015 2016 (Est.)
Total Case Reports Assigned 346 312 307 375
Total Cases Closed(1) 319 277 316 342
Cases Closed by Analysis(2) 249 232 263 297
Cases Closed Administratively(3) 70 45 53 45
Total Samples Submitted(4) 1,374 815 260* 1,113*
Total Samples Analyzed(5) 2,280 1,166 1,408* 1,044*

Collision Reconstruction

Crash Reconstruction is a scientific approach learning how a motor vehicle crash occurred. Reconstructing crashes requires a methodology that begins with known facts such as vehicle final rest positions, scene evidence and vehicle damage.  By working with this data in reverse, beginning with the known evidence of final rest positions along with information relevant to the crash, we can resolve issues such as speeds, driving behavior and other causal factors.  A crash reconstruction is the culmination of the scientific analysis of the data gathered and formulated into a concise report.

Many passenger motor vehicles have incorporated an event data recorder with the airbag control module.  These devices may capture and record very useful information pertaining to a crash, such as speeds, braking, change in velocity (delta-v) and other vehicle parameters.  Crash data retrieval is the process of extracting the information in a readable format via hardware, cables and software. The data obtained can be a useful supplement to traditional crash reconstruction analysis.

Year Cases
2013 25
2014 23
2015 30
2016 (Est.) 24

Firearms Identification

The Firearms Section of the Suffolk County Crime Laboratory has the responsibility of examining all types of physical evidence related to the illegal use of guns and weapons.  This physical evidence consists of all types of guns and ammunition, as well as fired ammunition components recovered from shooting scenes.  The individuals that work in this section are known as Forensic Firearm & Toolmark Examiners.  The unique training and experience of  these individuals allow them to make determinations as to whether a recovered expended bullet or cartridge casing had been fired in a specific weapon.  The section utilizes equipment linked to the National Integrated Ballistic Identification Network (NIBIN) to determine if associations can be made between crime evidence recovered in Suffolk County to other neighboring jurisdictions.

  2013 2014 2015 2016 (Est.)
Total Case Reports Assigned 679 749 809 849
Total Cases Closed(1) 620 735 757 900
Cases Closed by Analysis(2) 535 671 586 639
Cases Closed Administratively(3) 85 64 171 261
Total Samples Submitted(4) 3,826 3,197 842* 2,392*
Total Samples Analyzed(5) 3,879 4,473 1,616* 2,430*

*Beginning in 2015, NYS DCJS initiated standardized definitions for “items submitted” and “items analyzed”. Therefore, estimated values have been applied to these standardized statewide definitions.

Questioned Documents

The Questioned Documents Section of the Laboratory is staffed with a Forensic Document Examiner,  Board Certified by the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners.

Any problems concerning a document will be considered.  The term “document” is a general term for any substrate that is used to convey a message.  While the term “document” is generally considered a paper document, the “document” may be a box, wall, bathroom stall dividing partition or any other object.

Questioned Document problems commonly include the examination and comparisons of handwriting, typewriting, hand printing, printed materials, adhesives, inks, paper, rubber stamp impressions, alterations, eradications, obliterations, tampering, charred documents, photocopy processes, and counterfeit documents.  The examinations are conducted in the visible spectrum as well as the ultraviolet (254nm to 365nm) and the near infrared spectrum (700nm to 1100nm) when necessary.

The Questioned Document Section is equipped with state of the art instrumentation such as a Video Spectral Comparator and an Electrostatic Detection Device.

Crime Scene Investigations

This unit is charged with the responsibility to document, collect, and preserve evidence from homicides, hit & run fatalities, and other major cases as determined by the County police agencies.

  2013 2014 2015 2016 (Est.)
Number 80 111 68 81
Staff Days 210 277 190 213

Evidence Control Section

Control of the evidence in the custody of the laboratory is fundamental to the operation of the Crime Laboratory.  Evidence Control is responsible for the establishment of procedures for the submission of evidence, the movement of evidence within the laboratory, and the eventual release of the evidence from the laboratory. Other duties of the evidence control clerks include documenting chain of custody, ensuring that evidence is properly packaged, and retaining the paperwork necessary for analysis and record keeping.

Quality Assurance

The Quality Assurance Manager of the Suffolk County Crime Laboratory ensures confidence in the work done by the laboratory.  By implementing and maintaining the quality system of the laboratory, accurate, reliable and reproducible results are ensured.  The laboratory is committed to performing its testing activities in accordance with the standards mandated by regulatory bodies and accrediting organizations, namely The ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) and the New York State Commission of Forensic Science.  Responsibilities of the Quality Assurance Manager include maintaining and updating the quality manual, monitoring laboratory practices to verify continued compliance with laboratory policies and procedures, investigating technical nonconformities and implementing corrective action, maintaining a proficiency testing program, observing and evaluating written reviews of court testimony, conducting and coordinating internal quality audits, and overseeing the overall quality of the laboratory’s work.

Trace Evidence Section

The Trace Evidence Section is responsible for the analysis (investigative and comparative) of a wide variety of evidence types.  Analysts utilize state of the art microscopes and instrumentation to analyze trace materials, such as paint, glass, hairs, fibers and gunshot residue.  Additional evidence types include physical comparisons (jigsaw matches), analyzing fire debris for accelerants, and impression comparisons, including footwear and tire tracks.

Crime Scene Section

The Suffolk County Crime Laboratory maintains a Crime Scene Team that is available for major crime scenes at any time, day or night.  These crime scenes include homicides, fatal hit-and-runs, death investigations and other major crimes within Suffolk County.  The Crime Scene Team comprises Forensic Scientists from all disciplines within the Crime Laboratory.  At a crime scene, Crime Laboratory personnel are responsible for the documentation and collection of evidence.  The Crime Laboratory coordinates its activities with the investigating police agency and the identification/photographic unit of the police agency.

Suffolk County Government

H. Lee Dennison Bldg

100 Veterans Memorial Hwy
P.O. Box 6100
Hauppauge, NY 11788

Riverhead County Center

County Road 51
Riverhead, NY 11901