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Forensic Science and Management Services Division

Mission

The mission of the Forensic Science and Management Services Division is to provide the highest quality, most accurate, and most efficient forensic and management support services available. We do this by continually striving to ensure the quality and reliability of laboratory data through the use of fully documented and approved methods and procedures; deploying a fully accredited quality-assurance program to ensure all functions are performed as intended; delivering solutions that engage fiscal responsibility and exceptional customer service delivery through continuous business process improvement; promoting efficiency in the use of departmental resources; attracting and retaining talented professionals; encouraging employee well-being; and fostering a fair and inclusive workplace. We value quality, accuracy, exceptional service, integrity, accountability, respect, and teamwork.  

The primary functions of the division include delivering high-quality forensic science and crime scene services to improve public safety, and providing administrative oversight of the department’s most critical resources: its employees, budget, buildings, and equipment. Altogether, this includes approximately 3,000 employees; a $480+ million budget; 25+ buildings; and an expansive fleet of 1,300+ vehicles.

The Division regularly works with the Office of the Mayor, Department of Human Resources, Department of Finance, Department of General Services, and various other city agencies to advance its mission. and Evidence Management 

History of the Crime Lab

In 1948, one small room was allocated for a crime laboratory as a part of the Detective Division, where Sgt. Anthony F. Nelligan initiated the laundry and dry cleaning marks identification section, which he later expanded to include handwriting and documents examination. He was joined by Sgt. Joseph Litz, who performed firearms examinations. This one room soon proved too small for the growing crime laboratory and, in October 1951, Police Commissioner Beverly Ober established the Crime Laboratory and named Lt. Anthony Nelligan as its commander. The north wing of the 4th floor of the old headquarters building at Fallsway and Fayette Street, formerly housing the print shop, became the home of this newly-created unit. By that time the Crime Laboratory included the specialties of firearms examination, chemical tests, laundry marks, documents analysis, photography, technical arts, and latent fingerprint identification.The primary functions of the division include delivering high quality forensic science and crime scene services to improve public safety, and providing administrative oversight of the department’s most critical resources: its employees, budget, buildings, and equipment. Altogether, this includes approximately 3,000 employees; a $480+ million budget; 25+ buildings; and an expansive fleet of 1,300+ vehicles.

The appointment of Police Commissioner Donald D. Pomerleau in 1966 brought forth a reorganization of the Police Department, including the expansion of the Crime Laboratory. By this time the Crime Laboratory had expanded its specialties to include polygraph examinations and Identikit sketches. In March of 1969, the Commissioner obtained a grant to facilitate the construction of a new Crime Laboratory on the 5th floor of the new headquarters building, which it moved to in 1972. This grant included site preparation, scientific equipment, and furniture. It was also the foundation for the Crime Laboratory to perform Controlled Dangerous Substance analyses, which at that time were being performed at the U.S. Customs Service Chemical Laboratory.

Over the next several decades the Crime Laboratory expanded its services and staff on the 5th floor. Then, in 2000, the Crime Laboratory moved into renovated facilities on the 1st, 8th, 9th and 10th floors of Headquarters. The Crime Laboratory now has over 100 employees in several different job titles in nine separate disciplines.

In 2014 the Crime Laboratory hired its 4th director since Lt. Nelligan in 1951. Under Chief Steve O'Dell, the laboratory formally achieved its first International Organization of Standards (ISO/IEC) accreditation and was renamed the Forensic Science and Evidence Management Division.

Current

Today, the “Crime Lab" is known as the Forensic Laboratory Section. The "Mobile Unit," as it was previously known, is now referred to as the Crime Scene Unit, and is paired with the Evidence Control Unit to comprise the Crime Scene Sciences/Evidence Section. Both sections serve multiple law enforcement agencies inside and outside the City of Baltimore and are committed to providing the highest quality, most accurate, and most efficient forensic support services available to meet the public safety needs of Baltimore.

Multiple accreditations and certifications attest to this commitment. The Forensic Science and Evidence Management Division is licensed by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The DNA Laboratory was certified by Forensic Quality Services (FQS) in 2001. The analytical component of the Forensic Science and Evidence Management Division was accredited to the Legacy program by ASCLD/LAB in 2006 and later accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:2005 by ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board/FSQ in 2014. The Mobile Unit (i.e., Crime Scene), Forensic Facial Imaging, and Photography Sections were also accredited to ISO/IEC 17020:2012 by ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board/FSQ in 2014.

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