2002, 2005, 2009, 2014, 2020
Provides a comprehensive look at the forensic services provided by federal, state, and local crime labs across the nation and the resources devoted to completing the work. The Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories collects data on staff, budgets, and workloads within publicly operated labs. The census also provides information on lab accreditations, proficiency tests, and other quality assurances.
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 the 2020 CPFFCL to collect detailed information on the workload and operations of the nation's 326 crime laboratories and multilab systems (with a total of 423 individual labs) during 2020 and to examine changes since the previous censuses conducted in 2002, 2005, 2009, and 2014. Of the 326 eligible crime laboratories and multilab systems that received the 2020 CPFFCL, 293 (90%) provided responses to at least some of the items. To generate national estimates for the reports, BJS used imputation methods to account for missing data among labs that did not respond to certain questions on the CPFFCL questionnaire. To adjust for unit nonresponse, BJS calculated nonresponse adjustment weights, based on jurisdiction and number of full-time-equivalent employees.