Trace evidence recovered from crime scenes can provide powerful leads for law enforcement. It can assist not only in identifying a suspect but in revealing strong associations between the suspect and the crime. In this article from the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ) “Notes from the Field” series, Edward “Chip” Pollock, laboratory director of the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Laboratory of Forensic Services, explains how trace evidence can strengthen court cases. He also discusses how his laboratory utilized a state grant partially funded by NIJ’s Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program to invest in laser ablation analysis technologies. Pollock says his laboratory now serves as an “unofficial trace evidence resource center for law enforcement agencies throughout California.” Pollock is a member of the Materials (Trace) Subcommittee of the Chemistry/Instrumental Analysis Scientific Area Committee within the Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science.