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It is difficult to describe any single model that applies to modern forensic science laboratories (also known as forensic labs and crime labs), because their sizes, sophistication, and capabilities differ widely between regions and jurisdictions. The majority function within federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. A few exist within other public agencies such as coroner's offices and universities, and some privately owned laboratories provide services for a variety of physical evidence examinations. The following is a brief and general history of crime labs in America, with examples of services that they perform.

The History of American Forensic Laboratories

The value of scientific analysis of physical evidence became widely recognized during the early decades of the 20th century. In the United States, the Los Angeles Police Department ...

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