The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Forensic Science Laboratory was formed in the early 1960’s. Within Hennepin County, the laboratory provides forensic services to over 35 suburban law enforcement agencies, the Minnesota State Patrol, and a number of federal law enforcement agencies.
The Laboratory is an internationally accredited ANAB ISO/IEC: 17025 testing laboratory serving in the following specialized areas of forensic analysis: Serology and DNA, Latent Print and Firearm examination.
Select the appropriate service and provide the completed form to the Forensic Science Laboratory.
The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Forensic Science Laboratory is one of only four forensic science laboratories in Minnesota that provide forensic DNA testing and participates in the FBI Combined DNA Index System - CODIS. CODIS allows the laboratory to compare biological evidence recovered at crime scenes to a database of DNA profiles that include the following:
- Individuals convicted of a crime
- Profiles developed from crime scene evidence such as semen stain or blood
- Arrested persons (if state law permits the collection of arrestee samples)
- Missing persons
- Unidentified human remains
- Profiles voluntarily contributed from relatives of missing persons
If certain upload criteria are met, CODIS database searches can be done on a local (LDIS), state (SDIS), or national level (NDIS).
Primary duties of this section include providing 24/7/365 crime scene processing services to the sheriff’s office, suburban Hennepin County law enforcement agencies, the Minnesota State Patrol, and a number of federal law enforcement agencies.
The CSIs assigned to the section are responsible for locating, collecting, and packaging evidence at crime scenes; photographing crime and accident scenes; and measuring, sketching and completing diagrams of crime scenes. CSIs also receive specialized training in bloodstain pattern analysis, ballistic trajectory analysis, and forensic mapping and 360 imaging.
Evidence specialists are responsible for the intake, secure storage, and disposal of evidence received by the laboratory.
The laboratory accepts evidence submissions Monday through Friday. Agencies must call ahead for submission appointments. This assists the staff in expediting the intake process and minimize wait times for other customers.
The primary responsibilities of the section include firearm examination and serial number restoration, and NIBIN entry.
Firearm Examination: Firearm identification is a discipline of forensic science, with its primary concern being to determine if a bullet, cartridge case or other ammunition component was fired by a particular firearm. Bullets and cartridge cases recovered at crime scenes can be compared to known samples of bullets and cartridge cases test fired from recovered firearms submitted to the laboratory using a Comparison Microscope. The Comparison Microscope allows an examiner to view both the evidence and known samples together via a split screen at the same time.
Serial Number Restoration: Serial numbers that are obliterated may be restored through a wide array of forensic techniques typically involving the application of various chemicals to the obliterated area.
NIBIN Entry: Images of fired cartridge cases from a crime scene or from recovered firearms that our test fired by our staff are entered into the Integrated Ballistic Identification system (IBIS). These discharged cartridge case images are correlated in the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) and a search for possible links (similarly marked cases) to images of previously recovered evidence is available for comparison. The use of NIBIN allows us to provide potential leads to those investigating gun crimes.
The section's duties include the recovery of latent prints from items of evidence submitted for processing and the comparison and identification of latent prints to known persons.
The Forensic Science Laboratory participates in Midwest Automated Fingerprint Identification Network (MAFIN), a shared regional database of fingerprints from South Dakota, Minnesota, and North Dakota. MAFIN allows the laboratory to compare fingerprint evidence recovered from crime scenes to a database of known fingerprints and palm prints.
The Latent Print Section uses a Motorola Printrak Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) terminal to link to MAFIN. This enables a speedy comparison of fingerprints and detects matching records under alias names for all fingerprint records among the three states. The MAFIN database also contains unknown latent prints left at crime scenes. As new fingerprint records are added to the system, they are automatically searched against these unidentified prints.