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Specific Role of a Forensic Laboratory in Criminal Investigations

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Specific Role of a Forensic Laboratory in Criminal Investigations
Forensic science or investigations refer to the process of applying scientific knowledge to the law. Forensic laboratories have been established to provide scientific analysis to facilitate various investigations. Some of the specific roles of the forensic laboratories include DNA analysis, firearms analysis, chemical analysis, and crime scene assistance. Also, latent fingerprint identification and questioned documents among others (Kubic & Petraco, 2005).
DNA analysis mainly involves carrying out of the analysis of the body fluids such as blood, saliva, semen and touch DNA to obtain evidence linked to a crime. Some samples of these body fluids are taken, and DNA testing is carried out. The testing is normally performed following a well lay out procedures using YSTRs and STRs. Once the testing has been carried the result obtained is then uploaded and searched in various DNA databases. The results are then finally submitted to the relevant agencies as evidence (Mozayani & Noziglia, 2006).
Firearms analysis include examining and comparing of firearms, gunshot resulting residues for determining distances, ammunition components and tool marks. Evidence obtained from firearms analysis is used together with evidence obtained from other sources (Mozayani & Noziglia, 2006). Chemical analysis entails identification of some of the controlled substances, selected poisons, substances from the clandestine drugs laboratory, seized drugs and chemicals (Kubic & Petraco, 2005).

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Forensic laboratories provide crime scene assistance to the law enforcing agencies and aid in the investigation of major crimes. Scientists working in these laboratories analyse various pieces of evidence such as blood stain, trajectory determinations, scene reconstruction and scene documentation among others (Kubic & Petraco, 2005). Latent fingerprint identification involves processing of acquired evidence for latent printing, then comparing them with those of known persons. Also, forensic laboratories play a crucial role in identifying question documents (Mozayani & Noziglia, 2006).

Kubic, T., & Petraco, N. (2005). Forensic science laboratory manual and workbook. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis.
Mozayani, A., & Noziglia, C. (2006). The forensic laboratory handbook : procedures and practice. Totowa, N.J: Humana Press.



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