Utah Department of Public Safety

Forensic Services - What We Do

crime tapeThe Utah Bureau of Forensic Services Criminalistics Laboratory System is designed to assist law enforcement and prosecutors in analyzing evidence taken from crime scenes across the State of Utah. Our primary focus areas are homicides, sexual assaults, drug identification, photography, fingerprints, trace evidence, firearms and tool marks. The Laboratory System uses state-of-the-art technology and equipment in the analysis of evidence. For example DNA testing has become an integral part of laboratory services. Several high priority cases have been solved using DNA technology.

Criminalists employed at the State Crime Lab are highly trained and educated in their fields of specialty. All of the criminalists have at minimum a bachelor's degree in chemistry, biology, micro and molecular biology, etc. Several possess higher degrees including doctorates. They also receive extensive training in their areas of expertise. Each is qualified to provide expert courtroom testimony. There have been recent changes in how crime laboratories are scrutinized, and for this reason, the Utah Criminalistics Laboratory System is very pleased to have attained national accreditation in each of its disciplines. Less than half of the crime labs in the country are accredited laboratories, while all of the crime laboratories in Utah have received accreditation.

foot printOne of the most significant issues the crime labs deal with is clandestine methamphetamine labs. Illicit meth labs are being taken down all over the state of Utah and the increase of these labs has been alarming to law enforcement officials. Methamphetamine is an insidious drug which imposes serious health risks to the offenders and investigating police agencies. When the Crime Lab is called out to help with the investigation of a meth lab, all appropriate steps are taken to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved. Manufacture of methamphetamine in the state of Utah is a first degree felony and Crime Laboratory personnel go to extreme measures to ensure the integrity of the evidence in order to achieve a successful prosecution of those who are involved in this most dangerous activity.

The Criminalistics Laboratory System in the state of Utah is comprised of the Central Crime Laboratory in Salt Lake City, and satellite laboratories in Ogden and Cedar City, Utah. The satellite laboratories primarily focus on drug identification and will branch out into other areas of evidence analysis as the need arises. Two criminalists staff the northern lab, one criminalist the southern lab, and 17 criminalists at the central laboratory. The staff also provides extensive training to law enforcement officers and prosecutors from across the state in crime scene investigation, evidence collection and preservation. They also teach classes in the various science disciplines used at the lab.

If you would like further information on the Utah Bureau of Forensic Services, please feel free to call (801)-965-4487.

[Last Update - Friday, 08-Mar-2013 16:25:37 MST]