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Specialized areas

Biology and DNA

Our forensic science lab is one of only 4 in Minnesota that provides DNA testing and forensic serology. Serology is body fluid identification that includes blood, semen, saliva, and urine.

We compare DNA profiles of a person of interest to profiles obtained from crime scene evidence.

We also take part in the FBI Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). We enter eligible DNA profiles into the CODIS database. CODIS automatically searches for possible matches with existing DNA profiles.

CODIS is a database of DNA profiles that include:

  • 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

Crime scene

We provide crime scene processing 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

The agencies we support:

  • Hennepin County Sheriff's Office
  • Suburban Hennepin County law enforcement agencies
  • Minnesota State Patrol
  • Some federal law enforcement agencies

Crime scene investigators:

  • Locate, collect and package evidence at crime scenes
  • Photograph crime and accident scenes
  • Measure, sketch and complete diagrams of crime scenes

They get special training to recognize and document bloodstain patterns and ballistic trajectories. They also get special training in forensic mapping and 360 imaging.


Evidence specialists receive evidence from law enforcement agencies. They then distribute evidence to appropriate sections of the lab for testing.

To make intake efficient and reduce wait times, agencies must schedule an appointment to submit evidence.

Schedule an appointment to submit evidence.


Firearm and comparative examination

We use comparison microscopes to determine if:

  • Bullets, cartridge cases and other ammunition components were fired from a specific firearm
  • One or more firearms was used in a crime, in the absence of a submitted firearm

We also examine and test-fire firearms to determine functionality.

Serial number restoration

We use physical and chemical processes in an attempt to restore a serial number.


We enter evidence into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). NIBIN compares images of fired cartridge cases to previously entered images, for possible leads in investigations.

Latent prints

We analyze latent print impressions left behind at crime scenes. Latent prints can be compared to known fingerprint cards in an effort to identify the person who has touched the object in question.

We recover latent prints from evidence submitted for processing.

We can enter unknown latent prints in the Midwest Automated Fingerprint Identification Network (MAFIN). MAFIN searches the database for possible matches between prints gathered at a crime scene and known fingerprint cards.

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