Crime Lab: Forensic Sciences
My name is Dr. Cecelia Crouse and I am the Director of the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Crime Laboratory. The Crime Laboratory has been a forensic science service provider for over fifty years for the citizens of Palm Beach County including direct services to twenty seven law enforcement agencies, the county school systems, contract municipalities and federal or state agencies when requested. The staff generates forensic reports and testifies to the results for the judicial system.
The Crime Laboratory offers forensic services in seven different scientific disciplines within the Technical Services Division and the Forensic Sciences Division.
The Forensic Science Division consists of the “laboratory bench sciences” including Forensic Toxicology, Chemistry and Biology (DNA) Units where the testing of case evidence is performed using analytical instruments which provide quantitative and qualitative scientific data that is interpreted and reported by a qualified proficient analyst.
The Technical Services Division consists of the “comparative sciences” including the Firearms and Forensic Identification Units (Latent Prints) where the components of evidentiary material are examined for class and individual characteristics, the comparisons interpreted and a report generated. The TSD also includes the Evidence and Crime Scene support units which ensures the quality and integrity in the handling, transport, preparation and storage of crime scene evidence.
The Quality Assurance Unit is directly responsible for the implementation and monitoring of a quality system within each Unit of the Crime Laboratory.
The PBSO Crime Laboratory has been awarded and has maintained national accreditation through the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors-Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD-LAB) since 1991 and in 2012 was awarded accreditation for compliance with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17025 standards. The ISO accreditation preparation was accomplished with the dedication and support of all 102 Crime Laboratory scientists and support staff. The Biology Unit also maintains compliance with all FBI Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Case working Laboratories. In addition, 80% of Crime Laboratory qualified scientists are nationally certified in their scientific specialty, a rare accomplishment in forensic laboratories.
The Crime Laboratory forensic scientists on average receive over 12,000 requests to test evidence and report out nearly 10,000 cases annually. The PBSO forensic databases are essential crime fighting tools which have provided and continue to provide important investigative case leads for law enforcement. Database “hits” are routinely processed in the Firearms, DNA and Latent Print Units.
The Crime Laboratory receives hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in federal grants to upgrade instruments, validate new technologies, provide training for the scientists and increase efficiency and capacity within the Units. Interns and volunteers are an important part of several Units, allowing for firsthand experience while providing additional support.
The PBSO Forensic Scientists publish scientific results and book chapters in peer-reviewed journals, presented novel technical methodologies at national and international meetings and are active members of national, state and local scientific advisory boards.
The Crime Laboratory staff strives to provide valuable forensic services to the citizens of Palm Beach County.
Dr. Cecelia Crouse, Ph.D
Crime Laboratory Director