Code of the District of Columbia

§ 5–1501.06. Powers and duties of the Department.

(a) The Department shall provide forensic science services for the District of Columbia, which may include:

(1) Forensic alcohol;

(2) Computer forensics;

(3) Analysis of controlled substances;

(4) DNA/biological material analysis;

(5) Fingerprint comparison;

(6) Firearms and tool mark examination;

(7) Forensic photography;

(8) Analysis of questioned documents;

(9) Trace evidence analysis; and

(10) Emerging fields in forensic science.

(b) The Department shall provide these forensic science services upon request to:

(1) District agencies, including:

(A) The MPD;

(B) The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner;

(C) The Office of the Attorney General;

(D) The Department of Health; and

(E) The Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department; and

(2) To the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

(c) The Department also may provide forensic science services to other law enforcement or investigative agencies.

(d)(1) The Department shall be accredited by an appropriate, bona fide national accrediting organization.

(2) Department accreditation shall be obtained before January 1, 2014.

(3) Any forensic unit not included in the Department’s accreditation, and any forensic unit subsequently added to the Department, shall be accredited as soon as possible.

(e) The Department shall provide for the security and protection of evidence and samples in its custody.

(f) The Department shall provide training regarding the collection and preservation of forensic evidence to:

(1) Law enforcement agencies;

(2) Hospitals; and

(3) Other entities or individuals that collect evidence for testing or examination by the Department.

(g) The Department shall, to the extent feasible, complete cases submitted by MPD in the priority order requested by the Chief of Police.

(h)(1) The Department shall make available all records pertaining to the analysis conducted in a particular case to the agency that requested the analysis.

(2) If the records pertain to a criminal prosecution, the Department shall provide the prosecutor with 2 identical sets of records, one for the government and one for the defense.

(3) For the purposes of this subsection, the term “records” shall include:

(A) Lab notes and bench notes;

(B) Worksheets, graphs, and charts;

(C) Photographs;

(D) Raw data;

(E) Reports;

(F) Statistical information used to calculate probabilities or uncertainty;

(G) Any logs related to the equipment or materials used in testing;

(H) Any written communications or records of oral communications regarding a specific individual case between the Department and any other agency or between the Department and any person not employed by the Department, except as otherwise prohibited by law; and

(I) Proficiency test results for individual examiners involved in the analysis.

(i) The following documents shall be public documents:

(1) All accreditation documents;

(2) All of the documents listed in § 5-1501.04(b);

(3) Any investigative report prepared pursuant to § 5-1501.10(c);

(4) Minutes of meetings of the Board; and

(5) Any other documents as required by law to be public.


(Aug. 17, 2011, D.C. Law 19-18, § 7, 58 DCR 5403.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 5-1501.04 and § 50-1904.