NMDPS Forensic Laboratories Bureau

General Public FAQs

What forensic services are performed in the laboratory?

The New Mexico Department of Public Safety (DPS) Forensic Laboratories Bureau provides a wide array of forensic services to the state of New Mexico, and although each laboratory location is unique, Controlled Substance Analysis Sections can be found at each forensic laboratory site. However, the Las Cruces Forensic Laboratory is the only state laboratory that also conducts purity analysis for methamphetamine. The Las Cruces laboratory is also the only laboratory to have an established Trace Section that specializes in fire debris analysis. Additionally, latent print analysis is also a multi-site discipline, and Latent Print Sections are currently located in the Santa Fe and Las Cruces laboratories. The Santa Fe laboratory however, also conducts sub-discipline analysis involving shoe and tire impressions, and is currently the only laboratory with DNA / Serology and Firearms Sections designed to serve the entire state of New Mexico.

What services are not provided?

Various methods of blood testing, such as Toxicology, are not conducted through the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Forensic Laboratories Bureau. Toxicology and other testing methods are often conducted through either the New Mexico Department of Health Scientific Laboratory Division (SLD) or the Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI).

How many cases does the laboratory receive during a typical year?

The New Mexico Department of Public Safety (DPS) Forensic Laboratories Bureau continues to experience consistent increases in case submissions for various agencies throughout the state of New Mexico. According to the Forensic Laboratories Combined Report, the forensic laboratories in Santa Fe, Las Cruces, and Hobbs received a combined total of 7,128 case submissions containing 15,868 individual items for analysis in 2012.

What is the average time it takes to complete a single case?

Every case submitted to either the Santa Fe, Las Cruces, or Hobbs laboratories is unique, and the time necessary to complete each case may vary. Based upon testing procedures and standards, each requested discipline may take approximately 30 working days to complete their analysis.

Does the lab offer tours?

Unfortunately, the forensic laboratories do not offer tours, due to the sensitive nature and necessary confidentiality of active criminal investigations, the New Mexico Department of Public Safety (DPS) Forensic Laboratories Bureau has an obligation to preserve and protect the integrity of all case evidence submitted.

Does the lab have an intern program?

The New Mexico Department of Public Safety (DPS) Forensic Laboratories Bureau has periodically been afforded the opportunity to utilize internship opportunities through grant funding or statewide internship programs. Unfortunately, the laboratory does not have a pre-existing internship position. Nevertheless, the laboratory continuously explores opportunities to facilitate future endeavors.