Forensic Biology Sections

Our Forensic Biology sections examine biological samples of forensic evidence.

Crime Scene Response Unit

Our Crime Scene Response Unit provides technical support to law enforcement at many types of crime scenes. Personnel are available to respond 24/7, 365 days per year. They investigate and/or collect evidence including but not limited to:

  • Blood

  • Semen

  • Hairs

  • Fibers

  • Gunshot residues

  • Paint, glass, and other trace materials

  • DNA/skin cell collection

  • Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

We provide statewide service divided into 3 regions. During business hours, you can make requests to the numbers below:

  • Northern Region (Danvers): 978-538-6046

  • Western Region (Springfield): 413-205-1810

  • Southern Region (Lakeville): 508-946-1110

  • Main Laboratory (Maynard): 978-451-3500

If you're after hours, you can make requests to the Regional Massachusetts State Police Troop Headquarters. 

Criminalistics Unit

Our Criminalistics Section analyzes physical and biological evidence submitted to the Crime Laboratory. We may also testify to the significance of this evidence in trial. We perform presumptive testing for the presence of:

  • Blood

  • Semen

  • Saliva

  • Urine

  • Feces

We perform confirmatory testing for:

  • Blood

  • Semen

We perform chemical testing for:

  • Gunshot residues

  • Distance determination

We also classify hair and fiber evidence.

DNA Unit

Our DNA Unit analyzes forensic samples associated with a criminal investigation. Samples may include:

  • Blood

  • Semen

  • Saliva

  • Hairs

DNA profiles may be entered into the state and national DNA database (CODIS).

We also process known DNA samples from suspects and victims associated with the case.

DNA profiles may be entered into the state and national DNA database (CODIS).

Known DNA profiles from victims and suspects are not uploaded to CODIS.

We compare DNA profiles from forensic evidence samples to the DNA profiles from potential suspects or victims in order to provide information about how likely or unlikely it is that an individual may have contributed DNA to the forensic evidence sample. Our DNA analysts:

  • Perform statistical analysis

  • Make written reports of their findings

  • Testify in court as necessary

We also work with the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUS) to test samples related to:

  • Missing persons

  • Unidentified human remains

Additional Resources

CODIS Collection and Investigative Unit

CODIS (or Combined DNA Index System) is the state and national database for DNA samples. If you were convicted of a felony after February 10, 2004, you must submit a DNA sample to the database. There are also a number of other convictions prior to February 10, 2004 that require DNA samples.

After an offender's identity and relevant criminal history is verified, our DNA Unit tests their DNA sample. The unit then enters their profile into the state and national database.

Additional Resources

Trace/Arson and Explosives Unit

The Trace/Arson and Explosives Unit examines and compares many types of evidence to find possible sources of evidence.

Trace analysis examination includes but is not limited to:

  • Hairs

  • Fibers

  • Glass

  • Polymers

  • Physical match examinations

  • Restoration of serial numbers on firearms

Our Criminalistics Unit may first examine these materials, and then forward them to our unit.

Arson and explosives analysis includes:

  • Identifying ignitable liquid evidence from a suspicious fire

  • Identifying explosives or explosive residues from a bombing scene

  • Reconstructing components of explosive devices

  • Testing samples for gunshot primer residues

State, local and federal authorities may recover these materials and submit them to our unit for analysis. 

Explosive devices must be cleared and rendered safe by the MSP Bomb Squad before submitting to the crime lab.

The Trace/Arson and Explosives Unit also conducts the following analyses:

  • Miscellaneous Testing (to include the identification of some household products and cleaners)
  • Miscellaneous Material comparisons

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