Section Specific Evidence Packaging
Blood standards are essential for DNA analysis. The standards should be of the victim, suspect, and any elimination DNA that may be present. Below are the proper ways to package the blood standards.
(Place test tube in a plastic bag and seal. Refrigerate the sample until you are ready to transport it to the lab. Never freeze blood standards.
(use PURPLE topped test tubes for liquid blood standards)
If you are mailing blood standards, make sure it is mailed overnight and no later than Wednesday.
Do's and Dont's Of Serology Evidence
- Do air dry items BUT KEEP FROM FANS OR EXTREME HEAT. HEAT MAY DEGRADE THE DNA IN THE SAMPLE
- Do submit entire item with suspected bloodstain to the lab, if at all possible and practical.
- Do obtain fresh, liquid blood samples from all persons involved in purple top tubes
- Do refrigerate specimen(s) and mail at the beginning of the week.
- Do mark the packaging with Biohazard Warning Symbol and Label.
- Do package liquid blood samples separately and not with other items (clothing, bedding, etc.)
- Don’t send partially dried items, as decomposition will occur destroying the evidentiary value.
- Don’t put stained items into plastic bags or other airtight containers.
Don’t attempt to remove stains from clothing.
- Don’t remove stains from small solid objects submit the object.
- Don’t mix separate dried stains. Package each individual item in a paper bag or box, seal and properly label.
- Don’t place evidence in the trunk of a car. Extreme heat may make blood unsuitable for testing.
- Don’t process an item for latent prints before requesting serological tests.
- Don’t freeze liquid blood samples.
As of January 1, 2006 the Utah Bureau of Forensic Services no longer accepts marijuana. This does not include pipes and hash-like substances. You can visit www.utahmarijuana.webs.com for a list of certified marijuana examiners in your area.
We no longer accept syringes with needles in the lab. If you wish to submit a syringe, you can remove the needle or empty the contents of the syringe into a small vial. Do not empty the contents into a plastic bag.
When a case has many comercially prepared tablets of the same type in one bag, we ask that you remove two of those tablets and submit those. If you need all of the tablet tested, you need to let the cheistry section know. Usually one or two tablets is sufficient for court purposes. Suspected ecstacy cases are the exception to this rule. We ask that you submit all of ecstacy type tablets.
(too many pills in one bag)
(separate one to two of each type of tablet and submit those)
Dont's of Controlled Substances
- Do not submit field test sample kits. They will be rejected.
- Samples that have been field tested inside the original packaging WILL NOT be analyzed. The sample is contaminated.
Fire Debris Analysis (Arson)
When collecting fire debris from a suspected arson fire, use a clean, un-used metal or glass container so the vapors of the fire debris are not lost. Plastic bags and paper bags are not to be used. All ignitable liquid residue will be lost or cross contamination will occur. If you need to submit a liquid sample, follow these simple steps below:
Place the liquid in a glass jar with a lined lid.
Place a piece of tape on the jar prior to placing it into a metal can
Tape the glass jar to the inside wall of the metal container. Place the lid on the metal container and seal as normal.
For regular fire debris evidence, use a quart or gallon size paint can
Coming later this year, the Bureau of Forensic Services will be able to accept fiber evidence. The cases will be accepted on a case to case basis after meeting with detectives and prosecutors. There are a few things to remember when collecting fiber evidence.
- You can carry and transfer fibers just as easily as the criminal did
- Different people should collect the standard and questioned fibers to prevent cross contamination
- Keep known and unknown samples separate
- The smaller the packaging for a fiber, the better chance the analyst has at finding it
- Use clean tools when collecting
- Describe what you packaged in detail (“a red fiber taken from front passenger seat” instead of “fiber evidence”)
- Once you seal the fiber evidence, do not re-open it…EVER!
The following pictures shows an example of fiber evidence (tape lift). Tape lifts should be packaged in a plastic bag that has been cut open like a book. The "book" an then be sealed closed on the three sides and submitted to the lab. You can place this into a manilla envelope with case information for easier searching.
The Bureau of Forensic Services now accepts paint evidence for felonies or crimes against people only. All other cases will need approval from the paint analyst in the Chemistry section. Here are a few general guidlines when submitting paint evidence:
- Control Paint chips must be collected from the suspected source
- Controls must be taken from an area close to, but not in, any damaged area.
- If no obvious damage is visible controls should be taken from several areas of the suspect substrate.
- MUST HAVE ALL LAYERS OF PAINT
- Section an area of the painted surface
- Cut a paint sample from the surface using a clean, sharp instrument (knife, scalpel)
- Lift or pry loosely attached chips or dislodge the paint by gently hitting the opposite side of the painted surface.
- Collect paint samples that are at least THUMB NAIL size, whenever possible.
- Leak Proof Containers such as VIALS, FILM CANISTERS or PILL BOXES
- DO NOT STICK PAINT PARTICLES ON ADHESIVE TAPE
- DO NOT USE PLASTIC BAGS, COTTON, OR ENVELOPES TO PACKAGE PAINT SPECIMENS
The lab houses one video analyst. The analysis done by this individual ranges from police car cameras to video surveilance tapes. Here are some tips for submitting video evidence.
- Submit original video recordings
- Identify known and questioned voice samples.
- Fragile, Sensitive Audio/Video Media and Keep away from magnets or magnetic fields.
The impression section offers a wide variety of services to police agencies. These include fingerprints, footwear, and tire impressions.Here are some general guidlines for submitting each type of evidence:
- Package all fingerprint evidence in paper bags or manilla envelopes. Latent prints are very fragile and may rub off if placed in plastic.
- Only probative items will be accepted. If you have questions on what items are probative, you can contact the impressions section.
- Agencies that have fingerprint capabilities are asked to perform their own analyses.
- If you are submitting items for processing, do not process them before brining them to the lab.
- Submit the fingerprints and palm prints of all personnel who handled the evidence, all individuals who are suspects in the investigation, and victims for elimination purposes.
- All submitted fingerprint cards must include pertinent information.
- Elimination prints are required on all burglaries or auto thefts before they will be run in AFIS.
- It is the responsibility of the submitting agency to obtain ten-print cards from potential suspects. These can be obtained either at the time of arrest or from the Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI).
- All 10-print cards must be packaged, signed, sealed, and submitted as items of evidence
- Submit the original evidence whenever possible
- If the original piece of evidence is not available, submit casts, photographs, static lifts etc
- Use cardboard boxes when submitting casts. When submitting casts, make sure they are secured to the bos. Shaking the box could break the cast and destroy evidence.
- Casts may be very large and may require you to be creative when packaging them.
Firearms and Toolmarks
- Firearms must be packaged and submitted separately from live ammunition
- All firearms must be unloaded.
- “Weapon Cleared” must be designated on outside of packaging.
If we do not see a weapon cleared sticker, we may ask for you to open prior to submission.
- Serial Number must be written on outer packaging (if known)
- Firearms must be submitted in a cardboard box and the weapon secured (must pass the shake test)
- Do not mark bullets, cartridges and cartridge cases, shot-shells and shot-shell cases, and other firearms related evidence
Below are two examples of how to proerly seal a firearm Zip-ties are used to secure the firearm to the box.
- Obtain samples of any material deposited on the tools.
- To avoid contamination, do not place the tool against the tool marked evidence.
- Submit the tool rather than making test cuts or impressions.
- If it is not possible to submit the tool-marked evidence, submit a cast of the tool mark.
Mark the ends of the evidence and specify which end was cut during evidence collection.