AG Kaul Releases 2020 State Crime Laboratories Annual Report

Apr 15 2021

MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Josh Kaul today released the 2020 Annual Report for the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Forensic Sciences (DFS) crime laboratories.


“In 2020, the Wisconsin State Crime Lab met the challenges of the pandemic and kept staff safe, changing workflows in lab space and building a new digital security system to allow remote work and minimize disruption,” said AG Kaul. “Amid these challenges, crime lab staff not only continued to serve the State of Wisconsin, but also added new services.”


2020 Annual Report

Every year an annual report is released on the crime laboratories work. Highlights from this year’s report:

  • DFS leadership and employees went to great lengths to keep staff safe while continuing to do critical in-person work through the COVID-19 pandemic, all while maintaining turnaround times.
  • The Forensic Toxicology Unit, which identifies and quantifies drugs and alcohol in biological samples, has seen increasingly complicated compounds that require more-detailed analysis, resulting in slightly higher turnaround times and the need for the additional toxicology positions requested in the DOJ budget.
  • Fentanyl accounted for 8% percent of the drugs identified by the Controlled Substances Unit, up from zero in 2015.
  • The Crime Scene Response Teams responded to over 100 scenes while also providing crime scene response training to local law enforcement.
  • The crime laboratories receipted almost 9,000 cases in 2020.


About DFS

The Division of Forensic Sciences contains three crime laboratories that test evidence submitted by law enforcement agencies, coroners, medical examiners, district attorneys, wardens or superintendents of any state prison, state agency heads, the attorney general, or the governor, at no charge to the submitting official. The crime labs also conduct analysis upon request of a defendant in a felony action that is approved by the presiding judge. The crime labs provide the following services: crime scene response, toxicology, drug identification, DNA analysis that includes the DNA Databank, trace evidence analysis, firearms and tool marks analysis, fingerprint and footwear analysis, ten print comparison, photo work, and forensic imaging and video.


The labs are staffed by approximately 180 managers, forensic scientists, and technicians at facilities in Madison, Milwaukee, and Wausau. The Madison lab serves 24 southern counties, the Milwaukee lab services eight counties in the metro area, and the Wausau lab serves 40 northern Wisconsin counties.


The state crime laboratories are the only full-service crime laboratories in Wisconsin and provides testing and analysis of evidence for every community in the state.