Crime Scene Sciences and Evidence Management Section

BPD Crime Scene & Evidence Section Logo

The objective of the Crime Scene Sciences and Evidence Management Section is to provide the citizens of Baltimore City and the criminal justice system with the most accurate, reliable and efficient practices in the forensic science disciplines of crime scene investigation, digital forensics and evidence management.

The Crime Scene Sciences and Evidence Management Section houses two branches of service. Each branch is led by a Deputy Director who oversees the day-to-day operations of the units within the branch. Deputy Director Cinese Caldwell, DrPH, leads the Crime Scene Sciences Branch which is comprised of the Crime Scene Unit and the Photography Unit. Deputy Director Thomas Wisner, MS, leads the Evidence Management Branch which is comprised of the Evidence Management Unit and the Digital Forensics Unit.

Director Rachel Lucas Rachel Lucas, M.S.: Director of Crime Scene Sciences and Evidence Management Section

The Director of the Crime Scene Sciences and Evidence Management Section, Rachel Lucas, MS, works together with the Deputy Directors to develop and maintain a culture of excellence in service to the community with a focus on quality assurance, training and education and continuous improvement. A high level of public facing interaction exists in the completion of this Section’s duties. It is incumbent upon the Director to work in concert with the Division Chief and community stakeholders to create policies and procedures pursuant to all relevant legal requirements and industry best practices.

Crime Scene Sciences Branch

Deputy Director of Crime Scene Sciences Unit Cinese Caldwell, DrPH: Deputy Director of the Crime Scene Sciences

The Crime Scene Sciences Branch includes the Crime Scene Unit and the Photography Unit. These units work together to ensure that the services provided to the community are in line with best practices.  Members of these units are highly trained and work to continually improve their skills, knowledge and application of crime scene science and photography.

Crime Scene Unit

The Crime Scene Unit is the first link in the forensic science chain and is the element charged with recognizing, recording and recovering evidence at crime scenes. Crime Laboratory Technicians answer calls for service and respond to crime scenes 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Crime Scene Unit services are requisite for homicides, shootings, sex offenses, aggravated assaults, robberies, carjackings and burglaries. The Crime Scene Unit currently consists of five squads with nine to 10 Crime Laboratory Technicians per squad. Each squad covers a 12-hour period (0600-1800 and 1800-0600) with each Crime Laboratory Technician working a 10 hour tour of duty. Tours are flexed to account for continuity of service and to align resources with the demand for Crime Scene Unit services throughout the community.

The Crime Scene Unit is accredited to the quality assurance standard ISO/IEC: 17020. Crime Laboratory Technicians document crime scenes with notes, sketches, photography as well as three dimensional laser scanners and small unmanned aircraft systems. While on crime scenes, items with evidentiary value are identified by Crime Laboratory Technicians and may be processed for the presence of latent fingerprints or for the collection of potential biological material. Crime Laboratory Technicians then collect and package the evidence and transport it to the Evidence Management Unit.

Career As A Crime Laboratory Technician

Crime Scene Technician At Scene

The work of a Crime Laboratory Technician is physically demanding. Processing a scene may require bending, climbing, twisting or crawling under objects. This career can be emotionally challenging as it requires both compassion to relate to witnesses or victims who may be extremely upset, as well as the fortitude to handle difficult or even shocking scenes of violence in an objective manner. Crime Laboratory Technicians testify in the court of law with regard to the crime scenes that they process.

Initial Crime Laboratory Technician training provides 120 hours (or more) of comprehensive classroom instruction on crime scene inspection techniques and procedures as well as extensive individual training from supervisors. Additionally, trainees are provided on-the-job training from experienced technicians by accompanying them on service requests for six to eight weeks. After training, each Crime Laboratory Technician completes a competency test. The test includes all elements of training, crime scene processing, report writing and concludes with a mock trial. After successful completion of the competency test, a Crime Laboratory Technician is authorized to work independently.

After two years of service a Crime Laboratory Technician I becomes eligible for promotion to Crime Laboratory Technician II.

Applicants for a Crime Laboratory Technician position typically have a bachelor's degree in a science, forensic science, biology, chemistry, physics or a related field. The skills required for a Crime Laboratory Technician are critical thinking, an eye for detail, problem solving and patience. 

Please visit the careers page for potential job postings. 

Photography Unit

The Photography Unit maintains the photographs taken by Crime Laboratory Technicians and members of the Evidence Management Unit. These digital photographs are uploaded into, which is the Division's permanent repository for digital images. The Photography Unit is responsible for preparing visual aids for court testimony, memory cards for Crime Laboratory Technician use as well as consulting with Crime Laboratory Technicians on procurement and proper use of equipment.

Further, the Photography Unit provides specialized services to the Department such as special event photography, development of digital photographs and approved requests from media relations.

The Photography Unit is not accredited to ISO/IEC quality assurance standards.

Evidence Management Branch

Deputy Director Thomas Wisner Thomas Wisner, M.S.: Deputy Director of Evidence Management

The Evidence Management Branch includes the Evidence Management Unit (to include legislative compliance) and the Digital Forensics Unit. The Evidence Management Unit maintains property and evidence connected to a crime from the point of submission through to final disposition. The Digital Forensics Unit is working to stand up a state-of-the art unit with the capability to examine various forms of digital evidence accurately and efficiently.

Evidence Management Unit

The primary responsibility of the Evidence Management Unit is to protect the integrity of property and evidence in its possession. The Evidence Management Unit accepts property and evidence items submitted by Baltimore Police Department Officers and Crime Laboratory Technicians as well as from partnering law enforcement agencies. At the point of submission, Evidence Management Unit personnel assist with proper packaging and documentation of property and evidence. According to the nature of the item, it is transferred to an appropriate storage location. Storage location considerations include but are not limited to the environmental and security requirements of each type of item.

Property and evidence management is regulated by Federal statutes, The Code of Maryland Regulations and best practices. These rules and recommendations also help guide the final disposition of property and evidence. Evidence Management Unit personnel work diligently to prepare dangerous items for destruction, such as firearms and controlled dangerous substances, as well as release stolen items back to their rightful owners. Unclaimed items are donated or auctioned in accordance with rules and regulations.

Daily, items of property and evidence are transferred to and from the Evidence Management Unit for purposes of laboratory examination, court trials, etc.  The Evidence Management Unit is dedicated to maintaining an unbroken chain of custody.  An electronic property and evidence tracking system is utilized by Evidence Management Unit personnel for loss prevention and to ensure proper documentation of all people and/or locations that possessed the item of property or evidence.

The Evidence Management Unit is working toward achieving ANAB accreditation during the 2026 accreditation cycle.

Digital Forensics Unit

The Digital Forensics Unit is comprised of four Crime Laboratory Technicians and one Crime Laboratory Technician Supervisor. This team is training, earning certifications, procuring and validating equipment, writing standard operating procedures and technical manuals while outfitting analytical and administrative areas in preparation to launch the Baltimore Police Department's first Digital Forensics Unit. Once the Digital Forensics Unit is up and running, it will provide enhanced examination techniques that are aligned with the quality assurance program of the Forensic Sciences & Evidence Management Division. The field of information technology is rapidly and constantly developing. The Digital Forensic Unit will work to ensure the Unit is in step with the most current equipment, policies and procedures in the field.