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Forensic Services

The U.S. Secret Service is home to an advanced forensic laboratory, which includes the world's largest ink library. Secret Service forensic analysts examine evidence, develop investigative leads and provide expert courtroom testimony. The lab is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB).

Forensic examiners analyze questioned documents, fingerprints, false identification documents, credit cards and other related forensic science areas. Examiners also are responsible for coordinating photographic and graphic production, as well as video, audio and image enhancement services. Much of the technology and techniques utilized by examiners is exclusive to the U.S. Secret Service.

As part of the 1994 Crime Bill, Congress mandated the U.S. Secret Service to provide forensic/technical assistance in matters involving missing and exploited children. The Secret Service offers this assistance to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. On April 30, 2003, President George W. Bush signed the PROTECT Act of 2003, known as the "Amber Alert Bill," which gave full authorization to the U.S. Secret Service in this area.

The forensic services utilized by the Secret Service include a number of specialties:

  • Identification - The Secret Service has access to a full range of fingerprint-related services using the most up-to-date chemical and physical methods, including the utilization of state-of-the-art equipment for the development of latent prints. Specialists provide technical expertise and training in all fingerprint-related matters to the Secret Service field offices and other law enforcement agencies. They also provide expert testimony in federal, state and local courts.

  • Forensic Automation - Forensic automation analysts provide advanced automated/computer support to all U.S. Secret Service protective and investigative elements, as well as for outside requests that have originated within Secret Service field offices. This responsibility is computer intensive and utilizes internal and external networks to identify fingerprints, handwriting, counterfeit identity documents and financial documents when other investigative leads have been exhausted.

  • Polygraph - The Secret Service has distinguished itself as having one of the premiere polygraph programs in existence. Highly-trained personnel use their skills and the latest technology available to enhance U.S. Secret Service protective missions, criminal investigations and hiring needs. The examiners assigned to the program are considered experts in the psychology of deception and provide investigative expertise for all cases under the agency's jurisdiction. Polygraph examiners are most often called upon when all other techniques of investigation have been exhausted. However, any case has the potential to be enhanced through the use of a polygraph examination.

  • Questioned Documents - The Secret Service has long been recognized as one of the foremost questioned document laboratories in the world. The primary goal of analysts is to support field investigations by providing expert forensic analyses of evidence developed during investigations; writing reports of the scientific findings and providing subsequent expert testimony in court proceedings. Examiners also provide training to investigators on subjects related to forensic analysis and participate in crime scene search teams. Also, many have authored articles for relevant scientific and professional journals.

  • Visual Information - The Secret Service utilizes a unique blend of technologies providing expertise in forensic photography, graphic arts, multimedia operations, audio/image enhancement, voice identification, and 3-D modeling and simulation.



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