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Police Department
Forensic Services Section

The Forensic Services Section -- which on Sept. 17, 2011, became the first local law enforcement agency in Virginia to achieve accreditation from the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) -- view certificate-- operates from a specialized facility and is composed of three units:

    • Crime Scene Unit
    • Imaging Unit
    • Fingerprint Unit

The responsibilities of the Crime Scene Unit include:

  • 24-hour availability to respond to major crime scenes
  • Detailed crime scene documentation through the use of video photographs notes and sketches
  • Evidence identification documentation collection and preservation
  • Court testimony and presentation of evidence photographs sketches and visual aids in court proceedings
  • The use of various chemical and physical processes to develop fingerprints on items of evidentiary value
  • Obtaining still photographs from surveillance videos
  • The deployment of specialized equipment and scientific methods when called upon by unique investigative needs and
  • Providing training to Department members and citizen groups.

The responsibilities of the Imaging Unit include:

  • Management of sophisticated photo processing equipment
  • Film processing and negative archival
  • Processing all Department-wide requests for photographs
  • Providing training of Department personnel in basic and advanced photo techniques
  • The enlargement of photographs for use in court proceedings and
  • Portraits of Department members.

The responsibilities of the Fingerprint Unit include:

  • Processing arrest records generated by Department members
  • Scanning and inputting inked fingerprint cards into the statewide fingerprint system NOVARIS / AFIS
  • Evaluating latent fingerprints collected from crime scenes
  • Performing comparisons between questioned and known fingerprints
  • Providing training to Criminal Justice Academy recruits on the history of fingerprint identification latent processing techniques and how to properly collect inked fingerprints and
  • Court testimony and preparation of fingerprint charts for use in court proceedings.


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