Standard of Service

The Jefferson County Regional Crime Laboratory serves the community by analyzing evidence that may be of interest in criminal cases, and by performing the calibration of breath alcohol instrumentation.

The Laboratory is responsible for the analysis of physical evidence submitted by local law enforcement agencies. In addition to federal and state agencies, the Laboratory provides services for law enforcement agencies in Jefferson, Orange, and Newton Counties, and other agencies as approved by the Jefferson County Sheriff or his/her designee.

The scientific work conducted by the Laboratory is listed below, according to the division of the Laboratory that performs the test or calibration.

Breath Alcohol Calibration

  • Calibration of breath test instruments
  • Maintenance of Jefferson County's Breath Test Program

Methods Utilized

  • Infrared spectroscopy

Drug Chemistry

  • Identification of controlled substances and dangerous drugs

Methods Utilized

  • Weight determinations
  • Spot (color) tests
  • Macro and microscopic evaluations
  • Chromatographic (TLC, GC-FID)
  • Mass spectrometric (GC-MS)
  • Infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR)

Firearms

  • Firearms processing
  • Firearms comparison and identification
  • Serial number restoration
  • IBIS entry (through the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences)

Methods Utilized

  • Weight determinations
  • Length determinations
  • Macro and microscopic evaluations
  • Function testing, including trigger pull determination
  • Chemical or magnetic serial number restoration

Forensic Biology

  • Screening of evidence items for body fluids and trace evidence
  • Blood and semen stain identification

Methods Utilized

  • Body fluid screening tests (blood and semen color or fluorescent tests)
  • Physical evidence screening, including ALS
  • Microscopic examination (sperm)
  • Trace evidence collection
  • Body fluid confirmatory tests (blood and semen immunological tests)

Toxicology

  • Alcohol content in blood

Methods Utilized

  • Chromatographic (headspace GC-FID)

Crime Scene (all divisions of the Laboratory respond to Crime Scenes)

  • Perform spot tests, confirmatory tests and evidence collection

Methods Utilized

  • Body fluid screening tests (color tests or fluorescent tests)
  • Body fluid confirmatory test (blood immunological test)
  • Physical screening, including ALS
  • Evidence collection

Some evidence that is submitted is evaluated and/or tested, but may need additional analysis beyond the scope of testing employed at the Jefferson County Regional Crime Laboratory (DNA analysis, blood toxicology other than alcohol, GSR, hair & fiber, paint, etc). Although preliminary or in some cases partial analysis may be performed at this Laboratory for these cases, it is understood by the submitting agency that these additional tests will not be performed at this facility, and that the evidence may be forwarded to another lab for further analysis, as necessary, at the discretion of the Forensic Scientist assigned to the case. Evidence is usually forwarded to the Texas Department of Public Safety Laboratory system, unless other arrangements are made with the submitting agency or prosecuting official. Since the Laboratory does not house an IBIS unit, test fires and/or other firearms evidence items may be forwarded to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences for entry into the IBIS system at the discretion of the Scientist assigned to the case, or the Scientist may choose to enter the items into the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences IBIS system directly.

By accepting evidence into the Laboratory, the Laboratory is not agreeing to test all of the items submitted using the entire capabilities of the Laboratory. Policies are in force to expedite the sampling and processing of cases, and the Forensic Scientists in the Laboratory will make the final determination of which samples will be tested, and to what extent, as well as which methods will be utilized. If deviations from standard methods occur, they shall be technically justified, reviewed and approved before implemented in casework. The Laboratory reserves the right to re-test any submitted evidence as part of the Laboratory’s quality control program. If a case is re-tested as part of this program, the submitting agency will be notified.

By submitting evidence to the Laboratory for forensic evaluation or analysis, the submitting agency is agreeing to the Laboratory’s standard of service. The submitting agency is also authorizing the Laboratory to select the appropriate method for testing and to make other technical decisions regarding the evidence, as appropriate.