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Evidence Submission Tips

Evidence Seals

A secure seal is necessary for chain of custody. An acceptable seal is one that prevents the ready escape of the evidence and will be clearly damaged or altered if broken or attempted to open. Intact manufacturer seals do not need to be re-sealed with additional tape. Personnel sealing the evidence must place their initials, at minimum, across the seal.

Evidence Packaging

Item packaging should be of appropriate size and strength to contain the item and, ideally, should be at least 5” x 7” or a standard business envelope. Each item that has its own designated item number must be packaged separately.

Each evidence item’s packaging must include the following information, at MINIMUM:

  • Agency name

  • Agency case number

  • Evidence item number

  • Brief item description



Sharp Items

  • Package sharp items such as knives 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.

  • Items that have the potential to break, such as glass pipes, should also be packaged inside a puncture proof container.

Biological Evidence

  • Items containing biological evidence (such as blood, saliva, semen) must be packaged in a breathable container to prevent mold and bacteria growth which degrade DNA evidence. Breathable containers include: paper bags, manilla or business envelopes, cardboard boxes, Tyvek bags, and glassine envelopes.

  • Sexual Assault kits do not need additional outer packaging – the kit box sealed with evidence tape is more than adequate. The information on the outside of the kit must be visible at all times.

If you have other questions about submitting evidence to the lab, please contact the Evidence Section at 907-269-8120 or

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.