#ThrowbackThursday Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Crime Lab
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (#LASD) Scientific Service Bureau operates one of the largest full service crime laboratories in the United States. There are nearly 300 staff members working to provide forensic science support for all law enforcement agencies within Los Angeles County expect for LAPD.
Forensic science is any science that can be used in the legal system and crime scene investigation is a combination of science, logic and law.
At the crime scene, all potential evidence is collected. This evidence, including ballistics and firearms, latent prints, trace evidence, biological evidence, footwear and tire track evidence, digital evidence and drug evidence is examined and analyzed at the crime lab.
The firearms unit technicians utilize various resources and methods of firearms and ammunition identification and testing. These technicians are responsible for the analysis of any type of firearm and ammunition evidence by function-testing firearms, comparing bullets and cartridge cases to suspected firearms.
The device used to compare bullets is called a Comparison Microscope. It is essentially two microscopes linked together that allows the examiner to observe two objects side by side in the magnification. This device enables the examiner to compare the bullets striations caused by imperfections in the barrel of a firearm when firing a bullet.
Thanks to the rapid growth of crime TV shows like CSI, the profession of Crime Scene Investigator has been brought into the spotlight. The careers involving crime scene investigation include evidence technicians, crime scene analysts or forensic investigators. The job probably does not look like what you have seen on the TV shows, but it is an incredibly rewarding and gratifying career in the law enforcement world.
** Photo of Sergeant Howard Gavin at Crime Lab in the 1960s from Lasdretired.org.
** Comparison Microscopes photo from LASD crime lab, 2019.