The Bureau of Forensic Services is a part of the Attorney General’s Office, and the main goal of the BFS is to help the criminal justice system in using a variety of forensic techniques. The Bureau has many criminalists and specialists that work to analyze crime scenes and collect evidence. They go over the evidence and compare what they find in identifying suspects and investigating scenes. They are also able to offer analysis of blood and urine.
What Does the Bureau of Forensic Services Offer?
The BFS offers its services to state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as to district attorneys and the court system. In addition, they are able to offer training in a variety of forensic science disciplines through the California Criminalistics Institute, or the CCI.
One of the areas of great pride in the BFS is the analyzing of DNA evidence. There is quite a backlog of DNA evidence in California, but the new technology and the knowhow of the specialists working for the BFS are making a dent to reduce the backlog.
In the past the cold cases with DNA evidence had a solve rate of just one per year. Thanks to the California DOJ and the largest DNA data bank in the nation, scientists are able to process more than 200,000 DNA samples from convicted felons, and they’ve been able to match those DNA samples to unsolved cold cases on an average of one per day. That’s a huge improvement, and they are currently expanding their DNA data, which is going to be a huge benefit for solving crimes in the state.
The BFS works with far more than DNA though. You will find that the Bureau of Forensic Services has a great arsenal of research information to help analyze for toolmarks, firearms, field investigations, latent prints, impressions, questioned documents, and toxicology. The BFS is able to go right to a crime scene and work directly with the law enforcement officers.
What about Forensic Psychology?
Forensic psychologists that are working as part of a law enforcement team at the state and local level will discover that the BFS has quite a bit to offer. With the specialists that the BFS employs providing crime scene analysis and forensic work, it is able to give the forensic psychologist a bit more with which to work. With a high quality forensics team working on a case, it can make locating suspects easier and faster. This helps everyone from the cops on the case to the forensic psychologists.
The Bureau of Forensic Services has offices and laboratories around the state in order to be able to better serve the needs of local and state law enforcement. It should be possible for most departments to get the forensics help that they need, which is a tremendous help for those smaller or underfunded departments that do not have a dedicated forensics team of its own.
The BFS offers great services to the state of California, and they are using science to make a difference in the lives of residents who need to have closure of open and cold cases.
Please visit http://oag.ca.gov/bfs/ for more information about The Bureau of Forensic Services in the California Department of Justice. You may also visit http://ag.ca.gov/cci/ for information about the California Criminalistics Institute.