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Crime Lab: Chemistry Section

The Chemistry Section of the Laboratory employs three full-time chemists to provide analytical identification services. These individuals are responsible for illicit drug identification, fire debris analysis in arson cases, and blood alcohol analysis to assist investigations involving DWI incidents. 

Suspected drug items are carefully weighed and samples are taken for instrumental analysis. The analyst searches the computer library attached to the Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrograph (GCMS) for a match of an unknown drug for an investigation. 


Investigators collect debris from fires scenes in sealed cans for the chemist.  A possible accelerant will be extracted by heat and chemicals.

The extracted material is injected into the Gas Chromatograph (GC). In some cases the debris from the scene may contain a substance that conceals accelerant pattern data.  The GCMS will be used if more detailed information is needed to confirm a match with a known accelerant.

When a subject is unable to blow into the intoxilizer for breath alcohol analysis, tubes of blood will be taken for determining ethyl alcohol level.
Samples of blood will be injected into the Gas Chromatograph and the resulting ethanol amount will be recorded in grams per 100 milliliters.  Levels of 0.08 or above are considered legally impaired.  Results as high as 0.40 have been recorded.