FBI Laboratory

FBI Laboratory

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The FBI Laboratory is a division within the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 that provides forensic analysis support services to the FBI, as well as to state and local law enforcement agencies
Law enforcement agency
In North American English, a law enforcement agency is a government agency responsible for the enforcement of the laws.Outside North America, such organizations are called police services. In North America, some of these services are called police while others have other names In North American...

 free of charge. The lab is currently located at Marine Corps Base Quantico
Marine Corps Base Quantico
Marine Corps Base Quantico, sometimes abbreviated MCB Quantico, is a major United States Marine Corps training base located near Triangle, Virginia, covering nearly in southern Prince William County, northern Stafford County, and southeastern Fauquier County...

 in Quantico, Virginia. Opening November 24, 1932, the lab was first known as the Technical Laboratory. It became a separate division when the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) was renamed in the FBI. Public tours of the lab work area were available until the FBI moved to the newly constructed J. Edgar Hoover Building
J. Edgar Hoover Building
The J. Edgar Hoover Building is located in Washington, D.C. It is the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation . The building, named for former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, is located at 935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The building received its official name, the J. Edgar Hoover F.B.I...

 in 1974. Tours of the J. Edgar Hoover Building still were available, but the route the tour moved away from the lab work space thus sealing the lab from public view. The laboratory expanded to such an extent that the Forensic Science Research and Training Center (FSRTC) was established at the FBI Academy
FBI Academy
The FBI Academy, located in Quantico, Virginia, is the training site for new Special Agents of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was first opened for use in 1972 on 385 acres of woodland. It is a relatively small government academy, housing three dormitory buildings and...

 in Quantico, Virginia
Quantico, Virginia
- Demographics :As of the census of 2000, there are 561 people, 295 households, and 107 families living in the town. The population density is . There are 359 housing units at an average density of .-Racial composition:...

. Methods at the FSRTC helped establish standardized forensic practices for law enforcement agencies.

The history of the FBI Lab has not been without controversy. Dr. Frederic Whitehurst
Frederic Whitehurst
Frederic Whitehurst was a Supervisory Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory from 1986 to 1998 where he went public as a whistleblower to bring attention to procedural errors and misconduct.-Vietnam:...

, who joined the FBI in 1982 and served as a Supervisory Special Agent at the Lab from 1986 to 1998, blew the whistle on scientific misconduct
Scientific misconduct
Scientific misconduct is the violation of the standard codes of scholarly conduct and ethical behavior in professional scientific research. A Lancet review on Handling of Scientific Misconduct in Scandinavian countries provides the following sample definitions: *Danish definition: "Intention or...

 at the Lab. As a result of Whitehurst's whistleblowing
A whistleblower is a person who tells the public or someone in authority about alleged dishonest or illegal activities occurring in a government department, a public or private organization, or a company...

, the FBI Lab implemented forty major reforms, including undergoing an accreditation process.

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