Forensic Services Bureau
9105 NW 25th St.
Doral, FL 33172
Senior Police Bureau Commander: Stephanie Stoiloff
The Miami-Dade Police Department Forensic Services Bureau (FSB) provides forensic services for the unincorporated areas of Miami-Dade County and 34 incorporated municipalities. The City of Miami is the largest municipality, followed by Hialeah, Miami Gardens, Miami Beach, North Miami and Coral Gables.
The Forensic Services Bureau offers internships based on staffing levels, workload, and availability of projects that are beneficial to the MDPD, FSB and the student. Learn more about internships.
The Bureau supervises the Property and Evidence Section, Crime Laboratory and all entities within.
The full-service laboratory facility contains state-of-the-art scientific equipment, with 110 budgeted scientist and support staff positions. The educational level of the scientific staff ranges from Bachelor of Science to Doctorate. The mission of the laboratory is to provide scientific and technical support to the law enforcement community.
The laboratory is comprised of four sections: Analytical, Forensic Biology, Forensic Identification, and Fingerprint Identification.
The Analytical Section is currently staffed with 14 scientists, and is comprised of the Drug Analysis Unit and the Trace Evidence Unit.
The Drug Analysis Unit
The Drug Analysis Unit is responsible for analyzing and identifying illicit, controlled and legend drug materials confiscated in Miami-Dade County by local law enforcement officers and federal agents operating within Miami-Dade County. Additionally, the Analytical Section is tasked with developing methods to identify emerging drugs, including synthetic cannabinoids and bath salts.
Controlled and illicit substances are those substances designated by the legislature of the State of Florida in the Florida State Substantive Laws, Chapter 893. Legend drugs are those substances that according to state and federal law require a prescription.
In all drug cases, it is the primary objective of the scientist to conclusively identify any drug substances in a sample, including dangerous opioids and their analogs such as fentanyl and carfentanil. On average, over 500 drug case submissions are received by the Drug Analysis Unit per month.
The Trace Evidence Unit
The Trace Evidence Unit is responsible for the examination, analysis and comparison of evidence submitted from hit and run accidents, boating accidents, burglaries, robbery/home invasions, sexual assault and homicide cases, to name a few.
Trace evidence, or evidentiary material that is transferred when objects come into contact during the commission of a crime, can show an association between an individual and a crime scene. Examples of trace evidence submitted in criminal cases include, but are not limited to, the subdisciplines of fiber, glass, paint, gunshot residue, and fracture fragment analysis.
Analysts in the Analytical Section undergo a rigorous training program ranging from six months to two years depending upon the forensic discipline/subdiscipline. The Drug Chemistry training program consists of lectures, individual reading, observations, hands on instrumentation, report writing, competency testing, supervised casework and court testimony preparation.
The Trace Analysis training program includes lectures, preservation of trace evidence, instrumental analysis, report writing, and court testimony preparation. Both training programs measure learning using competency/written examinations, practical analytical exercises, supervised casework, and a mock trial.
The following websites offer additional information on the testing performed by the Analytical Section:
For information on the internship program with the Analytical Section, email Laboratory Manager Oliver Spicer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forensic Biology Section
The Forensic Biology Section (FBS) is primarily responsible for analyzing biological material that is associated with crimes committed in Miami-Dade County. Criminalists assigned to the FBS routinely examine biological material associated with homicide, sexual battery, robbery and property crime cases collected from crime scenes. Additionally, the FBS also analyzes cold case violent crimes. Not including cold cases, the FBS processes more than 2,200 cases each year. FBS Criminalists utilize conventional techniques and state-of-the-art robotics to screen biological evidence and conduct DNA Short Tandem Repeat (STR) analysis. Also, FBS Criminalists frequently utilize DNA Y-STR analysis in order to generate male DNA profiles from samples that are mixtures with a large ratio of female to male DNA.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) combines forensic DNA profiles and computer networking technology. CODIS provides FBS Criminalists the ability to search DNA profiles at the local, state and national level to determine if a DNA profile has been associated with an individual and/or linked to another crime. To date, the FBS has entered more than 32,000 DNA profiles into CODIS and subsequent hits have provided more than 8,100 investigative leads.
Scientists must complete a training program which includes lectures, laboratory exercises, court testimony preparation, and competency testing to qualify them as an expert witness. Learning is measured using practical exercises, written examinations and the successful completion of competency test(s) and a mock trial.
The following websites offer additional information and/or publications regarding the preservation of biological evidence, forensic DNA analysis, and CODIS:
- The Biological Evidence Preservation Handbook: Best Practices for Evidence Handlers
- DNA Evidence Basics from the National Institute of Justice
- Combined DNA Index System Overview from the FBI
For information on the internship program with the Forensic Biology Section, email Laboratory Manager Jeffrey Johnson at email@example.com.
Forensic Identification Section
The Forensic Identification Section is comprised of three distinct units: The Central Evidence Reception Facility is responsible for the intake, tracking and safe keeping of evidence that is submitted for forensic analysis.
The Firearms Testing Unit is responsible for test firing and computer entry of all routine auto-loading firearms impounded by the MDPD and other municipalities into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network.
The Firearm and Toolmark Unit analyzes various firearm and ballistic evidence in order to identify which firearms were involved in a shooting, as well as identify same gun evidence. This Unit also performs serial number restorations, shooting distance determinations, toolmark analysis and shoe and tire track impression analysis. The Firearm and Toolmark Unit houses an exceptional firearms reference collection with over 3,000 weapons.
Both the Firearms Testing Unit and the Firearm and Toolmark Unit participate in the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), a computer imaging system owned by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, that allows the firearm and toolmark examiner to link shooting cases. Every auto-loading firearm confiscated in Miami-Dade County and submitted to the Crime Laboratory is test fired and searched against all of the images in the NIBIN system.
The Firearm and Toolmark Examiner Trainee undergoes an intensive two-year training program designed to provide the background to become a court qualified Firearm and Toolmark examiner. This training will enable the trainee to make determinations and give court testimony concerning physical evidence related to forensic investigations involving firearms and toolmarks.
The training also consists of reading selected literature, formal lectures, attendance at training seminars, related factory visits, research, observation, supervised completion of actual casework with critical review, and visitation to other laboratories to compare methodology and instrumentation. Learning is measured using practical exercises, written examinations and the successful completion of a competency test and a mock trial.
For an introduction to Forensic Firearm Identification and to perform virtual comparisons, go to http://www.firearmsid.com/.
For information on the internship program with the Forensic Identification Section, email Laboratory Manager Thomas Fadul at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fingerprint Identification Section
The Fingerprint Identification Section is comprised of the Master File Unit, the Automated Fingerprint Identification System Unit, and the Latent Unit.
The Master File Unit
The Master File Unit is a 24/7 operation that is staffed by Fingerprint Analysts who are responsible for classifying, searching, analyzing, comparing, and evaluating fingerprints.
Analysts use the Automated Fingerprint Identification System and compare fingerprints from jail bookings that are submitted by the Corrections and Rehabilitation Department and Juvenile Services Department to determine identification, using current technology and traditional examination procedures. Assistance is also provided to the Medical Examiner Department to identify unknown deceased and to citizens whose identity has been compromised and are the victims of identity theft.
The Automated Fingerprint Identification System Unit
The Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) Unit is responsible for maintaining the biometric portion of the Fingerprint Identification Section. The AFIS database contains more than 1,948,000 tenprint records, 1,147,000 palm print records, and 328,000 latent fingerprint records. In 2017, over 550 latent identifications were made using the AFIS.
The Latent Unit
The Latent Unit is responsible for evaluating physical evidence submitted from crime scenes for the presence of latent prints. Latent Fingerprint Examiners assigned to the Unit frequently use mechanical, chemical, and forensic light source methods to develop, visualize, and compare unknown latent prints to known standards using current AFIS technology and traditional examination procedures.
Additionally, Fingerprint Analysts and Latent Fingerprint Examiners provide expert testimony in courts of law regarding fingerprint examinations.
Fingerprint Analysts and Latent Examiners must complete a training program which includes lectures, laboratory exercises, court testimony preparation, and competency testing to qualify them as an expert witness. Learning is measured using practical exercises, written examinations and the successful completion of competency tests and a mock trial.
For additional information about fingerprint identification, read The Fingerprint Sourcebook from the National Institute of Justice.
For information on the internship program with the Fingerprint Identification Section, email Fingerprint Superintendent Igor Pacheco at email@example.com.
Crime Lab Resources
- Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners
- International Association for Property and Evidence
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives National Integrated Ballistic Network
- What to do in case of a residential burglary (Español | Kreyòl)
- What to do in case of a commercial burglary (Español | Kreyòl)