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The Florida Division of State Fire Marshal has had a forensic laboratory since the early 1970's. The State Fire Marshal of Florida is one of only three State Fire Marshals in the United States to have their own forensic laboratory dedicated to the forensic analysis of evidence from fires or explosions.
Prior to 1990, the laboratory was located in Ocala, FL with the State Fire Marshal's Bureau of Fire Standards and Training. In 1990, the old laboratory was replaced with a new laboratory facility, more personnel, and updated equipment. The facility is located outside of Tallahassee, Florida, on the grounds of the Florida Public Safety Institute off of U.S. Route 90 West near Quincy, Florida.
In 2003 the laboratory was designated as the fourth Bureau of the Division of State Fire Marshal. The Bureau has incorporated national standards into its analytical protocols, continually seeks training for its personnel, and improves its analytical instrumentation. The Bureau also is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Laboratory Accreditation Board - International.
Bureau personnel have been encouraged to attend professional symposia, when time and budget will allow, where they network with other forensic professionals. Personnel have, on various occasions, prepared and presented seminars, workshops, and scientific posters at many of these events. Bureau personnel have also written scientific articles published in international forensic/scientific publications as well as chapters of books on various forensic science topics.
The facility has over 12,000 square feet of laboratory, office and conference rooms. The Bureau currently has a staff of nine full time and one part time employee. The Chemistry Section consists of four Crime Laboratory Analysts (three are Senior Analysts). The Imaging Section consists of one Crime Laboratory Analyst and two Forensic Technologists. Administration and Operations consists of the Chief of Forensic Services who oversees the entire Bureau, one Maintenance Mechanic who ensures the repair and upkeep of the facility, and one part time OPS receptionist who provides the Bureau's only administrative support.
Almost every summer the Bureau has worked with interested Universities to host up to four volunteer student interns to learn Fire Debris Analysis. In the past they hosted students from Florida A & M University, Florida State University, The University of Central Florida, Eastern Kentucky University, Auburn University, and the University of Wisconsin at Platteville in the Internship Program. Employees from the Bureau have also provided training to personnel from other agencies in various aspects of forensic science, digital imaging, and evidence preservation. In 2012, 2013, and 2014 training in fire debris analysis was provided to members of the Royal Bahamian Police Laboratory.
Employees also contribute to the field of forensic science through involvement in organizations such as: the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and the Technical Working Group on Fire and Explosions (TWGFEX) which is currently sponsored by the National Center for Forensic Sciences. Bureau Chief Carl Chasteen served as the Chair of TWGFEX from its inception through 2004. He was selected as TWGFEX Vice-Chair in 2008. He also served as Chair of the IAAI Forensic Science Committee for many years between 1993 and 2007. Chief Chasteen has also been a Fellow of the American Board of Criminalistics in Fire Debris since 2008.
|Carl Chasteen||Chief of Forensic Services|
|Reginald Hurchins||Senior Crime Laboratory Analyst|
|Carl Lugviel||Senior Crime Laboratory Analyst|
|Michael Koussiafes||Senior Crime Laboratory Analyst|
|Ryan Bennett||Crime Laboratory Analyst|
|Melissa Stephens||Crime Laboratory Analyst|
|Ann Walker||Forensic Technologist|
|Lynn Lee||Maintenance Mechanic|
|Pam Kenon||OPS Receptionist|
|Lance Tomkins||Forensic Technologist|
|Laura Poholek||OPS Receptionist|
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(SINCE July 20, 2010 in the subdisciplines of Explosives and Analysis of Unknowns)