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Forensic Services Division

The Anne Arundel County Police Forensic Services Division is divided into six disciplines.


About the Division

In 2017, the Crime Laboratory (comprised of the Seized Drug and Biology units) merged with the Digital Evidence Unit, Firearms Unit, and the ECU/ID Section (comprised of the Crime Scene Investigation, Friction Ridge, and Photography units) to form the combined Forensic Services Division.

The Forensic Services Division is divided into six disciplines:


  • Biology
    The Biology unit utilizes robotics and Short Tandem Repeat (STR) DNA testing to provide evidence examination for the Officers of the Anne Arundel County police Department.  The Biology Unit receives over 400 cases a year, including homicides and sexual assaults, as well as thefts and burglaries. Anne Arundel County collaborates with the FBI as well as other laboratories nationwide through the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), which allows the unit to link crimes and connect perpetrators.  The Biology Unit also investigates missing person cases, using DNA to link unidentified remains to relatives.
  • Crime Scene Investigation

    The Crime Scene Unit provides civilian staff support to all other units of the department in matters involving the identification, documentation, collection and processing of physical evidence from crime scenes in Anne Arundel County.  Crime Scene Technicians are specially trained in forensic photography, latent print processing, recovery of footwear and tire tread impressions, shooting trajectory analysis, bloodstain pattern interpretation and other forensic examinations. This Crime Scene Unit is staffed by four shifts of Crime Scene Technicians who are available twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year to respond to crime scenes ranging from burglaries to homicides.  On average, the Crime Scene Unit responds to 3,200 calls for service a year.  

    Evidence Coordination

    The Evidence Coordination Unit is staffed by Evidence Coordinators, who oversee the assessment and case management of physical evidence obtained by Crime Scene Technicians at major crime scenes to ensure adherence to Federal and State standards, and departmental operating procedures. The assessment process involves an analysis, evaluation and identification of specific forensic tests to be conducted on physical evidence, the shelf life of the physical evidence, and testing methodologies to support subsequent forensic testing efforts.

    Personnel assigned to this section determine the course of progressive examination of all forensic analysis that will be performed on physical evidence and make arrangements for the forensic testing of evidence via local, state, federal, and private crime laboratories.

    Personnel also assist the Criminal Investigation Division, District Detective Units, the States Attorney's Office, Defense Attorneys, and external law enforcement agencies by ensuring that physical evidence from major crime scenes is properly handled from the point of collection at the crime scene to its presentation in courts of law.

  • Digital Forensics

    The Digital Forensics Unit is staffed with specially trained Officers who provide quality forensic analysis of digital evidence through their expert identification, collection, preservation, extraction, and interpretation of digital evidence from electronic storage devices.

    Photography Laboratory

    The Photography Unit is staffed by Photographic Technicians who provide support and facilitate all photographic and video image enhancement needs of the Anne Arundel County Police Department.  They are responsible for the maintenance of all forensic photography, printing, video enhancement and videotaping services, as well as the capture station maintenance and image administration of the video mug shot system.  Additionally, they provide assistance with response to crime scenes to aid in the documentation and reconstruction of evidence with specialized techniques, recovery of digital video evidence, and special events photography, such as promotional and graduation ceremonies.

  • Friction Ridge

    The Friction Ridge Unit is a specialized unit consisting of Latent Print Examiners who manually compare finger and palm prints recovered from crime scenes and physical evidence to known fingerprints of suspects and victims of crimes. The unit also uses an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) that is maintained by the State of Maryland that permits examiners to search unidentified latent prints against a database of fingerprint records.  The system is designed to optimize search tasks for person identification, and crime investigation purposes, however, the Latent Print Examiner makes the actual decision on whether or not there is a positive identification.

    Ten Print

    The Ten Print Unit is responsible for the maintenance and storage of the Web Archive ten-print and palm print fingerprint records and the comparison of ten-prints. This unit performs comprehensive clerical duties in support of the criminal justice system to include the verification of identification of fingerprints, court ordered expungements and by providing testimony at court sentencing hearings to confirm identity.
  • Seized Drugs
    The seized drugs unit analyzes suspected Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) evidence for Anne Arundel County, Department of Corrections, and Annapolis City Police Departments. The Unit receives approximately 3,500 cases per year. The Unit utilizes Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry, Flame Ionization Detection, and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometry instrumentation to confirm drugs such as Heroin, Fentanyl, and Cocaine. 
  • Firearms and Tookmarks
    The Firearms Examination Unit is staffed by Firearms Examiner(s) who operate out of the ISO 17025 accredited Prince Georges County Forensic Sciences Division - Firearms Examination Unit, in Palmer Park, MD.  The Firearms Examination Unit is responsible for examining firearms and firearm related evidence such as cartridge cases, bullets, and bullet fragments recovered from crime scenes, as well as tool mark, serial number restoration and gunshot residue pattern/distance determination.  Firearms are examined for proper function and test fired cartridge cases as well as bullets are generated for microscopic comparison against firearms evidence recovered from crime scenes.  Additionally, the unit utilizes the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) database, maintained by the Prince Georges County Firearms Examination Unit, to enter cartridge cases into the system for correlation against images in an attempt to link different crimes together.