Division of Forensic Services
The Division of Forensic Services (DFS) strives to improve the effectiveness of the criminal justice community and enhance public safety by delivering accurate, complete, and timely crime scene evidence collection and forensic laboratory analysis. These services are provided at no cost to state, county, and municipal law enforcement agencies throughout Illinois.
The DFS is comprised of two separate commands, the Forensic Sciences Command (FSC) and Crime Scene Services Command (CSSC). The DFS enforces strict quality assurance measures across both commands to ensure accurate forensic services are delivered. The FSC laboratories have been accredited to conduct forensic testing by adhering to the ISO/IEC 17025 general requirements for competence of testing laboratories (including additional forensic requirements) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Quality Assurance Standards (for both deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) Testing and Databasing Laboratories). To maintain accreditation, the forensic science laboratories must adhere to stringent standards of quality and sound scientific practice.
The FSC administers six operational laboratories across the state providing evidence testing in the areas of biology (forensic biology screening and DNA analysis), firearms/toolmarks, latent fingerprints, drug chemistry, trace chemistry (which includes microscopy), and toxicology. In addition, a DNA Indexing laboratory processes DNA profiles mandated by law to be entered into the DNA database for searching at the state and national levels. The FSC also operates a Training and Applications laboratory, comprised of the Statewide Training Program, which delivers initial training to new forensic scientist trainees and in-service training to experienced scientists, and the Research and Development Laboratory, where new technologies are evaluated and validated before being implemented in the laboratories and used on actual forensic cases.
Forensic Scientists working within the FSC regularly employ forensic databases to help solve crimes. The Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) permits unknown DNA profiles recovered at crime scenes to be searched against DNA profiles from known individuals or from other unsolved cases to identify potential suspects. Similarly, unknown fingerprints are entered into the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) and searched against millions of known fingerprints to identify potential perpetrators. Firearms evidence may be entered into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) in an attempt to link firearms used in various violent crimes.
The CSSC is broken down into five geographic regions which cover the entire state of Illinois. Approximately 40 Crime Scene Investigators (CSIs) are assigned to these regions with the goal of responding to violent crime anywhere in the state within one hour. CSIs are trained in photography, scene mapping, evidence processing, and evidence handling and packaging. On-site polygraph services are also provided by civilian examiners working throughout Illinois. Several CSIs receive additional training in forensic art, blood-stain pattern analysis, and bullet trajectory analysis. These disciplines help identify suspects based on witness descriptions, and reconstruct events at crime scenes where bloodshed occurred or firearms were used. The CSSC also utilizes the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Program. The UAS can be used during incidents involving missing persons, significant risk of terrorism, natural disasters, and to document traffic crashes and crime scenes.