MASSACHUSETS STATE POLICE
Table of Contents
1. Reporting Requirements
2. Caseload and Turnaround Time Metrics
a. Forensic Biology
b. Forensic Chemistry
c. Forensic Services Section
d. Forensic Support Section
3. Accreditation Status
1. Reporting Requirements
Pursuant to Chapter 28 of the Acts of 2023 (hereinafter “Governor’s General Appropriation Act for FY2024”),
line item 8100-1004, the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory (MSPCL) is required to submit quarterly
reports to the House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means that shall include, but not be limited to:
i) the caseload of each lab;
ii) all relevant information regarding turnaround time and backlogs by type of case; and
iii) the accreditation status of each lab.
2. Caseload and Turnaround Time Metrics
The Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory (MSPCL) is a statewide service comprised of various sections
that provide professional forensic services to the Commonwealth’s criminal justice system. The MSPCL
generates snapshot metrics regarding caseload, backlog and turnaround time for all sections of the MSPCL.
The MSPCL produces monthly reports that provide an overview of the work being performed in each unit, as
• Assigned (to section): The number of case assignments that have been cleared for testing and are
awaiting assignment to an analyst. This count is taken on the last day of the month.
• Assigned (to analyst): The number of case assignments assigned to an analyst with testing in
progress. This count is taken on the last day of the month.
• Completed Reports: The number of case assignments completed in that month.
• Turn Around Time (TAT) Section: The average time, in days, from receipt of the case to completion
of testing, calculated from all case assignments completed in that month.
• Turn Around Time (TAT) Analyst: The average time, in days, from assignment of the case to an
analyst to completion of testing, calculated from all case assignments completed in that month.
• Case Backlog: The total work queue in the unit, comprised of all case assignments with testing in
progress and case assignments awaiting testing. This count is taken on the last day of the month.
Below, please find the reports for April, May, June of 2023 to fulfill the required quarterly reporting.
a. Forensic Biology Sections
The Forensic Biology Sections of the MSPCL examine biological samples of forensic evidence and consists of
the Trace/Arsons and Explosives Unit, the Criminalistics Unit, the DNA Unit, CODIS (or Combined DNA Index
System), and the Crime Scene Response Unit. The Forensic Biology Section is also responsible for examining
the sexual assault evidence collection kits (SAECKs) received at the MSPCL.
The Trace/Arson and Explosives Unit examines and compares many types of evidence to find possible sources
of evidence. Trace analysis examination includes but is not limited to hairs, fibers, glass, polymers, physical
match examinations, and restoration of serial numbers on firearms. The Criminalistics Unit may first examine
these materials, and then forward them to the Trace/Arson and Explosives Unit.
Arson and explosives analysis includes identifying ignitable liquid evidence from a suspicious fire, identifying
explosives or explosive residues from a bombing scene, reconstructing components of bombing devices, and
testing samples for gunshot primer residues. State, local and federal authorities may recover these materials
and submit them to the Trace/Arson and Explosives Unit for analysis.
The Criminalistics Section analyzes physical and biological evidence submitted to the MSPCL. They perform
presumptive testing for the presence of blood, semen, saliva, urine, feces. They perform confirmatory testing
for blood and semen. This Section also performs chemical testing for gunshot residues and distance
The DNA Unit analyzes forensic samples associated with a criminal investigation. Samples may include blood,
semen, saliva, and hairs. The Unit also process known DNA samples from suspects and victims associated
with the case. DNA profiles may be entered into the state and national DNA database (CODIS). They compare
DNA profiles and forensic samples to potential suspects or victims to find biological matches. The DNA
analysts perform statistical analysis, make written reports of their findings, and testify in court as necessary.
CODIS (or Combined DNA Index System) is the state and national database for DNA samples. After an
offender's identity and relevant criminal history is verified, the DNA Unit tests their DNA sample. The Unit
then enters their profile into the state and national database.
The Crime Scene Response Unit manages documenting and collecting of biological evidence from crime
scenes. The types of crimes this unit works with includes homicides, armed robberies, sexual assaults, motor
vehicle accidents, and breaking and entering.
b. Forensic Chemistry Sections
The Forensic Chemistry sections examine evidence to identify criminal drug or alcohol use and consist of the
Drug Identification Unit, the Toxicology and Postmortem Toxicology Units, and the Office of Alcohol Testing
The Drug Identification Unit analyzes all substances seized by law enforcement. The laboratory identifies
these materials to determine if they contain controlled or non-controlled substances. The most common
substances identified at the drug laboratory include Marihuana, Cocaine, Heroin, Fentanyl, and Prescription
drugs. The Drug Identification Unit may also respond to investigations of possible illegal drug labs. The Unit
provides technical support to law enforcement in these investigations.
The Toxicology Unit conducts testing of blood and urine samples for cases of drivers thought to be operating
under the influence (OUI) and samples from individuals to detect evidence of drug use. The Postmortem
Forensic Toxicology Laboratory tests samples received from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to
detect evidence of drug use. These samples include blood, urine, vitreous humor, and postmortem tissue.
The Office of Alcohol Testing (OAT) oversees the state breath test program. The office certifies all breath test
instruments that the state uses, approves and distributes all control standards used with breath test
instruments, and sets the standards for breath test training and certification for officers.
c. Forensic Services Sections
The Forensic Services Section consists of the Firearms Identification Section and the Crime Scene Services
The Firearms Identification Section examines evidence found at crime scenes related to firearms. This Section
performs tests and identifies firearms and firearms-related evidence. Members of the unit respond to crime
scenes to find out if a firearm played a role in a crime, examine and identify firearms evidence, show whether
certain firearms are operable, and destroy firearms and ammunition as ordered by a court.
The Crime Scene Services Section manages documenting and collecting evidence from crime scenes. This
Section handles crime scene documentation, collection and processing of evidence at major crime scenes,
crime scene photography and evidence processing, and recovery of latent fingerprint, footwear, and tire
track evidence. The types of crimes this Section works with includes homicides, armed robberies, sexual
assaults, suspicious deaths, motor vehicle accidents, and breaking and entering.
d. Forensic Support Sections
The Forensic Support Units review and support the MSPCL’s functions and consist of the Evidence Control
Unit, and the Case Management Unit.
The Evidence Control Unit provides support to all MSPCL Crime Laboratory units. The unit receives and logs
all items submitted to the labs for testing, stores, packages, and transports items, following set standards,
and electronically tracks items using the Laboratory Information Management System.
The Case Management Unit is the MSPCL’s main point of contact with outside agencies. The Unit handles
casework assignment and documentation for several units and also fulfills discovery requests for District
3. Accreditation Status
The Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory (MSPCL) is a statewide service comprised of various
sections that provide professional forensic services to the Commonwealth’s criminal justice system. The
MSPCL is composed of nine locations throughout the state with the main laboratory located in Maynard
and satellite locations located in Sudbury, Danvers, Lakeville, Springfield, Worcester, Boston and Bourne,
as well as a Long Term Evidence storage facility in Milford. The MSPCL Quality Assurance Unit oversees the
labs' accreditation requirements. The Unit ensures that each of the MSPCL labs adhere to set standards. The
review process includes yearly internal audits, correction and prevention measures, skill testing, and risk
assessment. The MSPCL is currently accredited by ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB),
formerly known as ASCLD/LAB, to the ASCLD/LAB – International Program. Please refer to Appendix A
for the ANAB Certificate of Accreditation for a summary of the currently accredited locations and