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Governor Thanks State's Forensic Scientists for Efforts to Solve, Prevent Crimes

Press Release

Location: St. Paul, MN

Today, at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's Forensic Science Services Laboratory, Governor Mark Dayton thanked the state's forensic scientists for the work they do every day to solve and prevent crimes. Joined by Public Safety Commissioner Romona Dohman, and Lab Director Cathy Knutson, Governor Dayton presented a proclamation designating August 11--August 17, 2013, to be "Forensic Science Week' in the State of Minnesota.

"Using advanced technology and masterful skill, our state's criminal investigators make our law-abiding citizens safer and help bring criminals to justice," said Governor Dayton. "I thank them for their dedicated service and for achieving their high standards of accuracy and reliability."

Forensic science is a vital public service that plays a critical role in solving and preventing crimes. The field includes forensic scientists, technical professionals and crime scene personnel who analyze evidence for information that may help investigators solve crimes.

At the Forensic Science Services Laboratory -- which was established in 1947 -- Minnesota scientists employ the latest technologies, including robotics, to provide efficient and accurate evidence testing services. In fact, in 1990 the lab became one of the first in the United States to offer DNA analysis, and later became the first lab in the nation to identify a suspect based solely on DNA evidence.

"Scientists at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are globally-recognized forensic science experts," said Commissioner Dohman. "Our laboratories and staff are fully accredited across nine different disciplines of forensic science."

In 2012 alone, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's forensic science labs statewide received over 63,300 pieces of evidence related to over 18,500 criminal investigations. Over the last 66 years, the program has grown from just one scientist performing chemical analysis and microscopy to two labs and over 100 scientists specializing in the areas of:

Crime scene processing (biological, latent print, firearm, toolmark, impression, trace, questioned document, shooting scene and bloodstain pattern evidence reconstruction)

DNA (nuclear, serology, mitochondrial, Combined DNA Index System, bloodstain pattern analysis)

* Drug chemistry

* Firearms & toolmarks

* Questioned documents

* Latent prints

* Toxicology/Alcohol

* Trace evidence (chemical testing, microscopic analysis)

The proclamation issued today by Governor Dayton reads as follows:

WHEREAS: Forensic science is a vital public service, which dramatically improves the investigation of criminal activity, leading to the exoneration of the innocent and the prosecution of the guilty; and

WHEREAS: Forensic science plays a critical role in public outreach and crime prevention, and is evolving in its role as an important part of the criminal justice community; and

WHEREAS: Crime scene investigators, forensic examiners, and forensic scientists provide unbiased, accurate, and reliable analyses of recovered evidence; and

WHEREAS: Minnesota scientists have advanced the quality of forensic science to the benefit of Minnesotans and the nation; and

WHEREAS: The hard working individuals who comprise our forensic science organizations deserve recognition and appreciation for their commitment to scientific investigations in the cause of justice; and
WHEREAS: Professional organizations, including the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, and the National Association of Medical Examiners, have recognized August 11 -- 17, 2013, as National Forensic Science Week.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, MARK DAYTON, Governor of Minnesota, do hereby proclaim the week of August 11 -- 17, 2013, as FORENSIC SCIENCE WEEK in the State of Minnesota.

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