Take a tour of MSP’s only U.P. forensic lab for Forensic Science Recognition Week

North Central UP

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – September 19 through September 25 is Forensic Science Recognition Week.

Forensic Science Week recognizes the contribution that forensic science makes to the criminal justice system. The Eighth District Headquarters in Marquette is the Upper Peninsula’s only forensic laboratory for the Michigan State Police. There are six other locations in the state.

“So we have three units here at our laboratory,” said Zachary Blaksmith, laboratory manager of MSP’s Marquette Forensic Laboratory. “We have a biology unit that focuses on body fluid identification. We have a control substance unit which tests substances for drugs. And then we have a latent print unit which does fingerprint analysis. We also have a crime scene response unit here at the laboratory.”

Crime Scene Response Teams are on call 24 hours a day to document, process, and collect evidence at crime scene locations. The Marquette Forensic Laboratory provides services for local, state, federal, and tribal levels. Over the last decade, the lab’s caseload has doubled.

“The increase in drugs we’ve gone from 50 percent of submissions to the laboratory being drug-related, now they are 70 percent of the submissions. Also because of the CSI effect, prosectors and juries now require more forensic science evidence and more forensic processing,” said Blaksmith.

The lab’s drug cases have gone from about 600 samples to 1,200 samples in the past 10 years. The lab processes between 70 to 100 drug case samples every month.

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