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Forensic Laboratory

The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Forensic Laboratory is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors - Laboratory Accreditation Board to ISO 17025 standards. The laboratory performs analyses in the following areas:  Crime Scenes; Controlled Substances;  Firearms and Toolmarks; Forensic Biology; Latent Prints;  Questioned Documents ; Toxicology; and Trace.

Forensic Laboratory Accreditations and Scope:

Forensic Scientists perform case work in the following areas:


Crime Scene Examinations

Crime scene work encompasses the recognition, documentation, collection, and preservation of physical evidence. In order to accomplish these tasks, the crime scene team may be required to: Photograph; Sketch/diagram; Document with notes; Take measurements; Interpret blood stain patterns; Determine bullet trajectories; Process items for latent prints; Collect biological material, firearms evidence, impression evidence (tool or tire marks, footprints, dust lifts,...), and other items of evidence that need to be processed at the laboratory.

Laboratory Examinations

  • Controlled Substances:  Analyses of solid dose drugs. 
  • Firearms and Toolmarks:  Comparisons of firearms to bullets and casings, gun functionality testing, distance determination testing, gun shot residue testing, serial number restoration, and search of fired cartridge cases and bullets in the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN).
  • Forensic Biology:  Detection and identification of body fluids on items of evidence, DNA typing and analysis, and search of unidentified DNA profiles in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and the National DNA Index System (NDIS). 
  • Latent Prints:  Process evidence for latent prints, comparisons of latent prints to victim elimination standards and suspect standards, and search of unidentified latent prints in various automated fingerprint identification systems (AFIS). 
  • Questioned Documents:  Comparison of questioned handwriting samples to known handwriting samples in order to determine authorship, and analysis of ink and paper.  
  • Toxicology:  Analysis of alcohol in blood, breath, and beverages, training of all law enforcement officers to use the breath alcohol evidentiary testing instruments.
  • Trace:  Comparisons of hairs and fibers, tire tracks, and shoe prints, analyses of paint, glass and soil samples, and fracture match analysis. 

Forensic Laboratory Internships

The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Forensic Laboratory offers three types of internships:  One internship for high school students and two internships for college students or college graduates.

The High School Internship Program tasks students with administrative duties.  The students learn how to answer telephones, file reports, and maintain confidential documents.  These interns will spend the majority of their time in the Front Office; however, they will have the opportunity to observe laboratory analyses. 

If you would like to be considered for this internship please call Robin Foucrault at (650) 312-5307.

College students or college graduates have the opportunity to choose from one of two laboratory internship tracks:  the general laboratory internship or the latent print processing technician program.

The General Laboratory Internship is based on the needs of the laboratory and is not always available.  For more information regarding the general laboratory internship please call (650) 312-5306.

If you would like to submit your name to the waiting list for the general laboratory internship, please submit your curriculum vitae to:

     Alice Hilker, Supervising Criminalist
     San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Forensic Laboratory
     50 Tower Road
     San Mateo, CA 94402
 

The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Forensic Laboratory offers an internship program specific to the Latent Print Section. The Latent Print Processing Technician Program accepts applicants on an annual basis; however, the program requires a minimum of a year commitment at 16 hours/week and each selected candidate must pass a background check to be considered for the program.

This program covers several modules such as:

- Orientation (Laboratory; Lab Sections; Safety; Bloodborne Pathogen,...)
- the History of Fingerprints
- the Physiology of Friction Ridge Formation
- Processing Techniques
- Fingerprints and the Law
- Digital Imaging Techniques
- Note Taking and Report Writing
- Court
- Supervised Casework.
 

Several reading assignments, papers, oral and written tests, practical tests, and mock trials must be successfully completed in order to begin the supervised casework portion.  Upon successful completion of the program the technician will be qualified to process evidence for the presence of latent impressions.

If you would like to be considered for the Latent Print Processing Technician Program, please submit the application materials to:

     San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Forensic Laboratory
     50 Tower Road
     San Mateo, CA 94402
     Attn:  Anne-Marie Toensing, Supervising Criminalist