U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Forensic DNA Education for Law Enforcement Decisionmakers


Home  |  Glossary  |  Resources  |  Help  |  Contact Us  |  Course Map


Operating a crime laboratory is expensive. Similar to the financial costs associated with law enforcement activities such as patrol and criminal investigations, laboratory analysis requires significant financial support. In addition to salaries for properly qualified personnel, a tremendous amount of equipment and consumable costs are associated with laboratories for items such as chemicals, analytical supplies, protective gear and packaging materials.

Improper or excessive use of forensic laboratory resources may fail to produce the expected outcomes and negatively impacts the entire criminal justice system. Lack of efficient and effective use of forensic laboratory resources taxes the system and causes unnecessary delays in other areas of the judicial process.

Understanding how limited resources impact day-to-day decisions can prevent unnecessary costs. Law enforcement decisionmakers, particularly administrators, should be mindful of three critical areas which have the potential for steep costs:

  • Laboratory analysis, including DNA testing and analysis of rush cases
  • Wasted or misguided investigative efforts
  • Loss of public trust2


The following example demonstrate how the decision to use limited resources can impact budgets.

2 Committee On Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Sciences Community, National Research Council, Strengthening Forensic Science In the United States, A Path Forward, The National Academy of Sciences Press (2009) PDF download: 3.5MB • Visit the National Criminal Justice Reference System »

Back Forward