MINNEAPOLIS - For National Forensic Science Week, specialists with the St. Paul and Minneapolis Crime Labs invited the media inside for a tour of what it takes to fight crime using science.
"Forensics is the application of science to the law," said Shannon Johnson, the Director of the Minneapolis Crime Lab. "You may not hear about us, but we do amazing work in here."
The Minneapolis Crime Lab is an accredited lab through the American Society of Crime Lab Directors and assists in processing crime scene evidence with a focus on video, computer and cell phone forensics, ballistics and fingerprints.
Meanwhile, the St. Paul Crime Lab has undergone structural changes in recent years, but the city has added staff and new equipment in an effort to improve its lab.
Both labs consist of dozens of specialists dedicated to processing evidence that, hopefully, leads to prosecuting people in court.
"I have five computers running 24 hours each day looking for people," said Officer Dale Hanson, whose primary focus is internet crime including child pornography. "I'm currently working on 300 cases in Minnesota and building enough evidence to conduct a search warrant."
Often, it's the work done in the lab that makes all the difference on the streets.
"We assist in these investigations," says Johnson. "Sometimes they have nothing out there until we do our forensic work and give them a lead."
Johnson says the popularity of television detective programs continues to keep the field of forensic science a competitive one.
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