DOJ Reorganized to Create Division of Forensic Sciences
MADISON, Wis. - Attorney Josh Kaul today announced the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has been reorganized to create the Division of Forensic Sciences (DFS), following approval from Governor Tony Evers. The reorganization reaffirms DOJ’s commitment to ensuring the crime labs are conducting high-quality, objective scientific analysis.
“This reorganization reflects the importance of the work done by the crime labs and our commitment to having rigorous, impartial analysis conducted at those labs,” said Attorney General Kaul.
Attorney General Kaul requested the Department of Administration (DOA) approve the reorganization of DOJ to create the DFS. Governor Evers approved the reorganization earlier this week.
Previously, the three crime laboratories made up the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory Bureau within the Division of Law Enforcement Services (DLES) at DOJ.
The creation of a DFS results in no additional cost or positions, but simply realigns the existing structure of the state crime laboratories.
The state crime labs 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.
The lab is 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 at the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) are the only full service criminal laboratories in Wisconsin, and provides testing and analysis of evidence for every community in the state.
In September 2018, the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) released a comprehensive report to improve the productivity and efficiency of analytical operations at the crime laboratories. The report also addressed the need to improve the autonomy of the state crime labs.