Forensic Unit

Responsibilities


The York County Sheriff's Office has 5 Deputies who are graduates of the Virginia Forensic Science Academy. There is 1 Academy graduate assigned to the Investigations Major Crimes Unit. The Forensic Academy graduate performs regular law enforcement or Investigator duties as well as serves in the capacity of a Forensic Technician at major crime scenes.

A York County Forensic Technician is available to assist Deputies and Investigators on any crime scene 24 hours a day. The Forensic Technician routinely responds to complex crime scenes involving:
  • Blood spatter analysis
  • Deaths related to unexpected, unnatural, and suspicious deaths
  • Fingerprints
  • Recovery of biological fluids
  • Shoe or tire impressions
  • Tool marks
  • When scenes need to be documented photographically

About the Forensic Academy


York County Sheriff's Office Forensic Technicians attended the Virginia Forensic Science Academy sponsored by the Virginia Division of Forensic Science and approved by the Department of Criminal Justice Services. The Forensic Science Academy trains 10 law enforcement officers in 1 of 2 academy classes each year. The Forensic Science Academy is a 10 weeks resident course conducted in Richmond, Virginia and has a waiting list of 1 to 3 years.

Training at the Academy


Forensic Academy students receive training in:
  • Arson and fire investigations
  • Basic and advanced fingerprint processing
  • Blood spatter analysis
  • Collection and documentation of tool marks
  • Collection and packaging
  • Collection of blood and other biological fluids
  • Crime scene photography
  • Crime scene sketching
  • DNA testing, analysis and interpretation
  • Legal issues involved in crime scene searches and seizures
  • Sexual assault investigations
  • Trace evidence identification (hairs, fibers, glass, paint, etc.)
  • Use of the alternate light source
Forensic Academy students also receive extensive training in death investigations. Members from all disciplines of the Forensic Sciences present material and case studies so graduates have a complete knowledge and understanding of the capabilities of the Virginia Division of Forensic Science Laboratories. Academy Graduates act as liaison between their respective agencies and the Division of Forensic Science.

Selection for attendance to the Virginia Forensic Science Academy involves an application, testing and interview process through the Division of Forensic Science. Prior to graduation from the Forensic Academy students must pass an extensive written examination followed by a crime scene practical exercise demonstrating knowledge and ability in all areas of study. Forensic Academy graduates attend an additional 5 days of re-training annually.

Other Training


Forensic Technicians have received specialized training in other areas such as:
  • Arson investigations
  • Homicide investigations
  • Latent fingerprint classification and identification
  • Mass casualty incidents
  • Recovery and evacuation of human remains
  • Sexual assault investigations
York County Sheriff's Office Forensic Technicians hold memberships in a number of professional organizations to stay up to date on the latest information in the field of evidence identification, collection, processing and preservation.