of the casework completed is for the 1,200 local and county police agencies across the state.8

Not all forensic services are performed in traditional crime laboratories—they may be conducted by a sworn law enforcement officer with no scientific training (e.g., some latent print examiners). Thus, forensic service providers may be located in law enforcement agencies, may be crime scene investigators, or may be a for-profit entity. There are no good data on the entire universe of forensic science entities, although there have been efforts to gather data on publicly funded crime laboratories and nonlaboratory-based providers. The committee could find no data regarding for-profit forensic science service providers, except for DNA laboratories, of which there are approximately 30 in the United States.

Publicly Funded Laboratories

BJS has conducted two censuses of publicly funded forensic crime laboratories. The first census, administered in 2002, established baseline information on the operations and workload of the Nation’s public crime laboratories.9 The 2005 census documented changes in workload and backlog that have occurred since the 2002 census. According to the 2005 census, 389 publicly funded forensic crime laboratories were operating in the United States in 2005—210 state or regional laboratories, 84 county laboratories, 62 municipal laboratories, and 33 federal laboratories. The estimated budget for all 389 crime laboratories exceeded $1 billion, nearly half of which funded state laboratories. The BJS report cites a total of nearly 2.7 million new cases10 in 2005, including a much larger number of separate requests for forensic services. Some laboratories are full-service facilities; others might conduct only the more common analyses of evidence (see Chapter 5).

Funding Sources

According to the 2005 BJS census, in addition to federal, state, or local support, 28 percent of publicly funded laboratories charged fees for service, and 65 percent reported receiving some funding from grants. However, funding for laboratories has not increased with increasing demands. Some


J. Johnson, Illinois State Police Forensic Science Center at Chicago. Presentation to the committee. January 25, 2007.


Peterson and Hickman, op. cit.


Durose, op. cit. “A ‘case’ is defined as all physical evidence submitted from a single criminal investigation submitted for crime laboratory analysis,” p. 9.

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