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A National Snapshot of Publicly Funded Crime Laboratory Operations

Event Dates
Event Duration
1 Hour

Crime labs perform a variety of forensic analyses for federal, state, and local criminal justice agencies, examining and reporting on physical evidence collected during criminal investigations. To increase knowledge of crime lab operations and how they change over time, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has periodically conducted the Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories (CPFFCL). The 2020 CPFFCL is the fifth collection in the series, following administrations in 2002, 2005, 2009, and 2014. The CPFFCL collects information on the workload, staffing, resources, policies, and procedures of federal, state, county, and municipal forensic crime labs that are solely funded by the government or are overseen by a government agency. The CPFFCL includes crime labs that employ one or more full-time scientists (1) who possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, physics, biology, criminalistics, forensic science, or a closely related field and (2) whose principal functions are examining physical evidence in criminal matters and providing reports and testimony to courts of law with respect to such evidence. Privately funded crime labs and agencies that engage exclusively in evidence collection and documentation are excluded from the CPFFCL. Of the 326 eligible crime labs and multilab systems in the 2020 CPFFCL, 293 (90%) provided responses to at least some of the survey questions.  

This webinar will discuss the data collection procedures and findings from the 2020 CPFFCL. National-level statistics on the number and type of requests for services, backlog, outsourcing, staffing and vacancies, budgets, laboratory information systems (LIMS), accreditation, and quality assurance measures will be highlighted. Differences by lab type and changes since previous CPFFCL administrations will be examined. Information on how to access CPFFCL reports and data sets will be provided. Finally, an update on the next administration of the CPFFCL will be presented, which is scheduled for 2025 to capture information on the calendar year 2024.

Detailed Learning Objectives

  1. Attendees will learn about findings from the 2020 Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories, including workload, staffing, resources, accreditation, and quality assurance.
  2. Attendees will learn where publicly available reports and data sets from the Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories can be accessed.
  3. Attendees will learn about the timeline and next steps for the upcoming 2024 Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories.

Date Created: March 8, 2024