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Forensic Investigations Unit

The Forensic Investigations Unit is a highly technical unit that is responsible for the professional processing of crime scenes in an attempt to document all facets of a crime thereby providing a solid framework for the reconstruction of the crime. The investigators are able to establish the sequence of events involved in the crime, determine where, when and how the crime was committed as well as who committed the crime. The Forensic Investigations Unit utilizes the natural sciences (Chemistry, Physics, Anatomy, Biology, etc.) plus mathematics to establish the facts of the case and then testify about them in court.

The Forensic Investigation Unit is composed of eight (8) Forensic Investigators I and II, two (2) Lead Forensic Investigators and one (1) Forensic Service Manager. The members of this unit are an integral part of the investigative team which seeks to effectively resolve investigations. The actions of this unit can provide facts and/or information not available from other investigation team members.

The Forensic Investigations Unit is divided into three distinct functions.

On-Scene Investigations

During the on scene investigation the Forensic Investigator is responsible for:

  1. Locating, documenting, marking, and collecting physical evidence.
  2. Ensuring the chain of custody of evidence is maintained.
  3. Associating persons to the scene of the crime.
  4. Completing detailed sketches of the crime scene.
  5. Taking accurate measurements of the crime scene.
  6. Reconstructing the Crime Scene. 

In-Office Investigations

Forensic investigations are not limited to the offense location alone. Some investigative techniques require a precisely controlled environment to maximize evidence collection and analysis.  Often times, evidence collected at crime scenes will be analyzed and processed at the Garland Police Department's state of the art forensic processing area.

Automated Fingerprint Identification System

The Automated Fingerprint Identification System is commonly referred to as "AFIS." During this phase of the investigation, latent prints from a crime scene can be entered into the statewide or federal data base. The system searches all arrest files for possible matches. If the system finds a possible match it alerts the Garland Police Department Forensic Unit. If the comparison is a positive match, the Forensic Investigator will notify the Detective assigned to the case of the positive match of a suspect.

2006 2007 2008 2009
On Scene Investigations 3,602  3,824 4,105 3,522
In-Office Investigations 4,769 4,924 4,982 4,357
Evidence Processed in Forensic Facility 1,339  1,037 977 895
Evidence Submitted to Labs 170 134 144 119
Latent Print Comparisons 34,769 35,344 27,887 32,992
Latent Print Matches 188 193 108 130
AFIS Print Comparisons 4,089 2,141 5,913 3,330
AFIS Print Matches 30 10 25 27
Finger Print Cards Filed 8,188 9,798 6,063 6,650
Images Processed 99,430 68,821 76,589 77,393