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Evidence Submission Tips

Sharp Items
• Package sharp items such as razor blades, knives, and syringes inside a puncture proof container.
• Items that have the potential to break such as glass pipes should also be packaged inside a puncture proof container.
• Transfer the contents of a syringe into a vial and only submit the vial to the lab.  Transferring syringe contents as soon as possible will reduce the potential for liquid loss, liquid evaporation, and needle clogging.  The laboratory will provide vials to law enforcement agencies upon request.

Evidence Containers
• It is not necessary to use more than one outer package per item.
• Evidence containers must be at least 5x7 inches or preferably the size of a standard business envelope (9x12 inches).
• Each evidence container should include the following MINIMUM information: agency name, agency case number, item number and item description.

Evidence Seals
• An acceptable seal is one that prevents the ready escape of the evidence and will be clearly damaged or altered if broken to enter a package. The person sealing the evidence must write their initials or mark across the seal.
• A secure seal is necessary for chain of custody. However, do not tape excessively. This makes the evidence handling in the laboratory difficult. Intact manufacturer seals do not need to be re-sealed with additional tape. 

Request for Laboratory Services (RLS) Form
• Type or print legibly. This form is used to relay information for processing your evidence. It is rendered useless if an analyst cannot read it.
• Include the email address for the primary investigator assigned to the case and a phone number where you can be reached. This will allow the analyst to contact you if they have a question.
• Use one item number for each item of evidence submitted, and do not duplicate item numbers assigned in a previous submission for the case. However, if resubmission of an item of evidence is required, reuse the item number originally assigned to the item of evidence.
• Clearly describe the type of evidence container(s) and the item(s) being submitted. The item number and description on the RLS should match what is written on your evidence items.
• When mailing evidence, place the RLS inside the mailing container but outside of the evidence container (click "Mailing Evidence" tab for further instructions).


Do analyst's bring evidence to court?

Only photocopied or printed copies of electronic case files will be taken from the laboratory. The exceptions are Crime Scene, Latent Print and Footwear/Tire Track case files that contain items needed for court. Any other exceptions to this policy must be approved by a member of Top Management.

How do I cancel a case?

Contact the supervisor of the section that will analyze your evidence items. The supervisor can locate your case in the laboratory information management system and cancel your request for service. Click here  and look under Contact Information for a list of laboratory supervisors and the disciplines they manage.

What kind of evidence do you receive?

We receive numerous items from officers or crime scene investigators for analysis. These items can be just about anything, but some of the most common items include various drugs & drug paraphernalia, blood, biological items, clothing, shoes, guns, knives, fingerprint cards, and assorted items to be fingerprinted. More unusual items can include bar stools, airplane propellers, doors, car seats, and vehicles.

What is "Chain of Custody"?

"Chain of custody" (COC) refers to the document or paper trail showing the seizure, custody, control, and transfer of physical evidence. Evidence item COC documentation should include the identity of all evidence handlers, duration of evidence custody, and the manner in which evidence is transferred each time such a transfer occurs.

Do you  keep any evidence, or do you destroy it when you are done testing it?

With few exceptions (such as Sexual Assault kits or DNA swabs) it is laboratory policy to return ALL submitted evidence to the submitting agency.

How do you decide what tests need to be done?

A Request for Laboratory Services (RLS) form is filled out for evidence before the evidence is brought or sent to the laboratory. On this form the submitting agent fills out all the applicable information including what analysis they require for each evidence item.  If an item on an RLS form does not have any analysis indicated, we are required to call the submitting agent to complete the RLS.

How do you decide when an evidence item can be returned to the requesting agency?

An evidence item will be returned to the requesting agency when all the requested examinations are complete.

How many cases do you receive in a year?

The laboratory averages between 2500 to 2800 new cases a year. This does not count re-submittals or additional evidence submitted on previous cases.

Who can submit evidence to the laboratory?

We do not accept evidence from private citizens, but we accept and receive evidence from local, state and federal investigative agencies operating in Alaska.