FORENSIC SCIENCE SERVICES DIVISION
The crime laboratory is comprised of the following sections: Firearms, Controlled Substances, Toxicology, and Latent Prints. The crime laboratory's technical staff is comprised of criminalists and forensic specialists. The Long Beach Police Department crime laboratory is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Lab Accreditation Board (ASCLD-LAB).
The Firearms Section provides technical expertise in the analysis and interpretation of firearms related evidence for the Long Beach Police Department and the forensic community.
The firearms detail conducts the examination of firearms, discharged bullets, cartridge cases, and shotgun shells. Serial number restorations are performed using various physical and chemical methods. Garments are microscopically examined to detect firearm discharge residues (GSR) and to approximate the distance from a target at which a firearm was fired.
The results of these microscopic comparisons and chemical evaluations are summarized in written reports and presented in courtroom testimony. Criminalists assigned to the Firearms Section are available for call out on special cases to provide technical crime scene assistance and expertise in the projectile path analysis, reconstruction, and collection of firearms related evidence. The Firearms Section utilizes the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS), which links crimes scenes and firearms through the input of evidence and test fired cartridge cases into the BrassTrax station. In 2014, the Long Beach Police Department enhanced its IBIS system with the addition of BulletTrax which was purchased with grant funds. BulletTrax is used to link crime scenes and firearms through the input of evidence and test fired bullets. The Firearms Section routinely provides forensic services for other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and provides training to investigators, attorneys, and other forensic specialists.
The Controlled Substances Section, commonly known as the "Narcotics Section," tests unknown substances including powders, pills, plant materials, and liquids to determine if they contain any controlled substances, as defined by Federal and California laws.
In addition to the analysis of samples, criminalists provide expert witness testimony on cases worked in the laboratory. Criminalists are available to provide training in narcotics presumptive testing and proper handling and packaging of suspected drugs for law enforcement officers in the field.
Criminalists analyze blood and alcohol samples to determine the concentration of alcohol present by means of gas chromatography. The majority of the samples are blood samples related to driving under the influence (DUI) suspicion (Section 23152 (a) and (b) of the California Vehicle Code) but samples related to other criminal offenses are also analyzed.
The Blood Alcohol/Toxicology Section is charged with managing the evidentiary breath-testing program for the City of Long Beach with the maintenance, operator training, repairs, and technical support of the CMI Intoxilyzer 8000 and 5000EN instruments that are deployed throughout the city. The section also reviews approximately 3,500 breath tests a year for compliance with State regulations and laboratory policies. Criminalists provide expert witness testimony on the analysis of alcohol and the effects of alcohol in the human body as it relates to driving.
The Latent Print Section provides technical expertise in the analysis and examination of evidence for latent prints.
Crime scenes and evidence retrieved from crime scenes may be processed for fingerprint evidence, commonly referred to as “latent prints”. Latent prints are evaluated for sufficient quality and quantity of friction ridge detail and are prepared for entry into the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). This system is an electronic database for storage and retrieval of local and nationally captured fingerprints. The system aids analysts in providing potential suspect leads to the case investigator. Analysts also perform comparisons of latent prints against known subjects of interest.
Specialists are highly skilled in the analysis of friction ridge detail and are responsible for providing examinations of hundreds of cases annually. Each analyst is annually tested for proficiency in the category of latent print comparisons and provides expert witness testimony related to the detection and processing of latent prints, based on sound scientific analysis and protocol.
The Crime Scene Analysis Section is responsible for processing in excess of 1,500 crime scenes that range from property-related crimes to major person-related crimes, annually. The team currently consists of six analysts who respond to crime scenes, seven days a week. They are responsible for making critical observations of the crime scene and documenting those observations using notes, sketches, measurements, and photography.
The team collaborates with investigators on scene to identify potential evidence. They are responsible for preserving, marking and collecting evidence items, examining items for possible biological fluids and transfer DNA, collecting shoe and tire impression evidence, and processing items for latent prints.
All analysts are equipped with advanced digital SLR cameras to document each scene and are responsible for deploying special laser scanning equipment.
Each analyst is annually tested for proficiency in the category of crime scene skills and provide expert witness testimony, as well as training to police officers in the areas of evidence preservation and collection.Crime Lab Information Guide
The Evidence Control Section is charged with the responsibility of intake, storage, and disposition of all property received by the Long Beach Police Department to be held as evidence, prisoner's property, found property, or stored for safekeeping.
All evidence/property that is received by the Evidence Control Section must be properly inventoried, logged, classified, stored, and correctly dispositioned.