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 and
Crime Scene Services Command. The DFS enforces strict quality assurance measures
across both commands to ensure accurate forensic services are delivered. The forensic
laboratories are accredited by Forensic Quality Services-International (FQS-I) and the
crime scene investigators are accredited by the American Society of Crime Lab
Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB), both under the International
Organization for Standardization (ISO/IEC) 17025:2005 standards. The DFS currently
operates the third largest forensic laboratory system in the world behind the Forensic
Science Services (United Kingdom) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Forensic Sciences Command (FSC) administers seven operational
laboratories across the state providing evidence testing in the areas of forensic
biology/DNA, firearms/toolmarks, latent fingerprints, drug chemistry, trace chemistry,
toxicology, questioned documents, and microscopy. In addition, a DNA Indexing
laboratory processes DNA profiles mandated by law to be entered into the state-level
database. The FSC also operates a 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 Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS)
and searched against millions of known fingerprints to identify perpetrators. Firearms
evidence is entered into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN)
in an attempt to link firearms used in various violent crimes.
The Crime Scene Services Command (CSSC) is broken down into five
geographic regions which cover the entire state of Illinois. Approximately 40 sworn
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, crime scene mapping, evidence processing, and evidence handling and
packing. Several CSIs receive additional training in forensic art and blood-stain
pattern analysis. These disciplines help identify suspects based on witness
descriptions and reconstruct events at crime scenes where bloodshed occurred,
respectively. On-site polygraph services are also provided by civilian examiners
working throughout Illinois.
The CSSC’s Forensic Diagramming and Animation Section (FDA) generates computerized
courtroom diagrams, forensic animations, and three-dimensional models for use as
demonstrative aids in criminal court. The Computer Evidence Recovery Unit (CERU),
also under the CSSC, conducts forensic examinations on computers, cell phones, and
other digital media submitted by law enforcement agencies across Illinois.