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 Scene and Evidence Services Command (SECS). 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 ANAB 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 (with High-Thru-put DNA laboratory opening in Decatur, in Spring 2023) 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 Scene and Evidence Services Command (SESC) consist of three specialized units; Crime Scene Services (CSS), Traffic Crash Reconstruction Unite (TCRU), and the Statewide Evidence Vault (SEV). Crime Scene Services 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 to respond to violent crimes anywhere in the state. CSIs are trained in photography, scene mapping, evidence processing, and evidence handling and packaging. Several CSIs receive additional training in forensic art, bloodstain pattern analysis, and bullet trajectory analysis. TCRU utilizes highly technical investigative equipment and software to investigate complex crash scenes including GPS-laser total stations, airbag and engine control module readers, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), and PIX4D mapping software. Traffic Crash Reconstruction Officers attend extensive training to achieve certification as Crash Reconstruction Specialists and attend over 120 hours of training in new vehicle technology each year to keep up with technological developments in the automotive industry. CSS and TCRU utilize unmanned aircraft systems to assist in incidents involving missing persons, significant risk of terrorism, natural disasters, and to document traffic crashes and crime scenes. The SEV is the largest evidence vault in the Department and ensures the security of more than 45,000 evidentiary exhibits. The SEV provides training, guidance, and functional control to each District/Zone vault in the areas of evidence collection, processing, storage and destruction. The efforts of the SEV ensure the integrity of the Department’s evidence system is unimpeachable. As a testament to their accomplishments, SEV staff routinely assist other law enforcement agencies in establishing standards and controls for evidence handling.
The Division of Forensics Services’ mission is to deliver accurate and timely forensic services to assist with the identification and prosecution of the guilty and exoneration of the innocent in the State of Illinois.
The contact number for the Division of Forensic Services is 217-785-7542.