Forensics

The definition of ‘forensics’ is ‘relating to or dealing with the application of scientific knowledge to legal problems’.

The Hamilton Police Service’s Forensic Services Branch’s primary responsibilities include:

•    Forensic photography and crime scene techniques as they apply to police photography.
•    Recognition, gathering, examination, preservation and presentation of evidence.
•    Latent fingerprint development, examination and comparison to known impressions.
•    Trace evidence, including DNA.

 

Scenes of Crime Officer (SOCO) Program
The Scenes of Crime Officer (SOCO) program provides a cadre of patrol officers trained in forensic photography and crime scene investigation techniques. These officers complement the Forensic Services Branch by photographically documenting crime scenes and collecting and preserving physical evidence. Fingerprints, photographs and other evidence are forwarded to the SOCO coordinator who conducts further analysis as required.
 
Forensic Detectives
Detectives drive a marked van, and work between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. They attend all major crime
scenes and other calls for service as workload permits.
 
DNA
The DNA Identification Section was created in response to the proclamation of the DNA identification Act on June 30, 2000. The section is primarily responsible for the implementation of the DNA legislation and annually collects approximately 500 hundred bodily substance samples from designated offenders. The section also provides training and technical support to the various operational divisions throughout the Hamilton Police Service.
 
DNA typing is an effective comparative identification tool. Its most prominent application has been in identifying violent
criminals by comparison of biological samples from suspects against biological specimens that perpetrators have directly
or indirectly left at or taken from crime scenes (e.g. semen, saliva, skin, or blood). Since its forensic introduction in
Canada in 1988-89, DNA typing has been instrumental in securing convictions in hundreds of violent crimes, from
homicide to assault. It has also sometimes helped to eliminate suspects, sometimes, in the face of damning
allegations, and has led to the exoneration and release of previously convicted individuals. Forensic DNA typing is
conducted throughout the world including the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.
 
Very little genetic material is needed for DNA analysis and trained personnel can obtain samples of bodily substances
relatively un-intrusively. For example:

•    Hair plucked from any part of the body.
•    Epithelial cells, or skin cells obtained by swabbing the lips,
•    tongue and inside cheeks of the mouth.
•    A few drops of blood obtained by simple finger lancet.

Video

Within our Forensic Services Section, the Forensic Video Analyst handles most matters relating to crime-scene videos such as those from bank robberies, break and enters and thefts as well as all in house closed-circuit television projects. The videos must be brought in by an officer on the investigation not a member of the general public.

Using a high-end scanner, computer, enhancements can often, (but not always) be made of criminal incidents to identify suspects for investigators and the court, even when the video is of poor quality.

The Hamilton Police Service has also been recognized as a leader in video interview room usage, boasting some of the best video interview room facilities in North America, thanks to sophisticated design parameters and specialized sound and imaging equipment.


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Forensic Community Services