The Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories (CPFFCL) is directed to federal, state, county, and municipal crime labs that are funded solely by the government or whose parent organization is a government agency. The CPFFCL includes agencies that employ one or more full-time scientists with a minimum of a bachelor's degree in chemistry, physics, biology, criminalistics, or a closely related forensic science field, and whose principal function is examining physical evidence in criminal matters and providing reports and testimony to courts of law regarding such evidence.
The CPFFCL did not include operations that engage exclusively in evidence collection and documentation, such as fingerprint recovery and development, crime scene response, and photography. In addition, the census did not collect data on the forensic services performed by police identification units outside of the crime lab and privately operated crime labs.
BJS conducted its fourth CPFFCL to collect detailed information on the workload and operations of the nation's 409 crime labs during 2014 and to examine changes since the previous censuses conducted in 2002, 2005, and 2009. Of the 409 eligible crime labs that received the 2014 CPFFCL questionnaire, 360 (88%) provided responses to at least some of the items. To generate national estimates for the reports, BJS used several imputation methods to account for missing data among labs that did not respond to either the entire CPFFCL questionnaire or certain questions.