The Bureau offers a variety of Imaging Services. The original is a Digital Darkroom where digital images (from digital cameras) of investigation scenes are processed, placed into a database, and archived. The Digital Darkroom processed over 218,870 images from 3,324 cases from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013.
The Bureau also has equipment with the ability to import, analyze, manage, and archive video from most video media. The placement of closed circuit security cameras has grown significantly. It is estimated that each of us is caught on film from eight to twelve times each day. These cameras are in ATM machines, businesses, government buildings, private residences, etc. As these cameras capture images, they often will capture either individuals committing a crime or individuals associated with a crime. It is logical then that these images have become an important piece of the investigative puzzle. Currently this work is being accomplished by the assistance of Detective Brock Dietz from the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigation who was formerly the Crime Laboratory Analyst assigned to this work in the BFFEA. Crime Laboratory Analyst, Melissa Stephens has completed her training and will soon complete her competency testing, proficiency testing, and mock court so that she may also process video for the bureau. In some cases, the Bureau can aid in the physical recovery and restoration of damaged video capture devices and media. As an extension of its video work, the Bureau has the ability to perform limited audio processing. Please contact either Carl Chasteen or Melissa Stephens at the Bureau if you have a video or audio request.
Film, flashcards, video tapes, compact disks, DVD's, etc. may be mailed to the Bureau, with a letter explaining the processing to be done. In some instances, limited numbers of images for processing may be submitted via e-mail (there is a limit as to the size of the files that can be effectively sent and downloaded). Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations investigators have access to a shared virtual drive allowing a more convenient submission of images and image processing requests.
The Bureau provided photographic processing for the Division of State Fire Marshal from 1990 through 2007. Since the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations began its move to the use of digital cameras in 1998, the need for conventional 35mm film processing declined and had virtually disappeared by 2007. As a result, the Bureau phased out its ability to process 35mm film in 2007. The Bureau continues to archive pre-2007 35mm film for BFAI investigators.
Over the years, the Bureau has experienced an increase in the number of "public records requests' it receives. Because records of analyses, photographs and digital images are used in criminal and civil litigation, it is often necessary to prepare reproductions, prints, and enlargements for attorneys and investigators. In some cases, a compact disc (or DVD) with copies of the scanned photographs, digital images, or case files are requested. From January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013, the Bureau processed 169 records requests. For public records requests made by private attorneys and investigators, the cost of processing must be paid by check to the Florida Department of Financial Services. Please contact Ann Walker at the laboratory should you have any questions.