Major Crimes & Investigations

The Major Crimes Division provides specialized investigations for homicides, robbery, sex crimes, missing persons, domestic violence, fraud and the victim assistance units.

About the Crime Lab

The Denver Crime Laboratory actively works to aid the Criminal Investigations Division in solving crime. The bureau employs a variety of highly trained personnel and police officers to assist in the investigation of criminal acts and make Denver a safer place to live. Download Crime Lab Booklet
The Crime Scene Investigations Section is comprised of Detectives and Sergeants, working two separate shifts. They handle evidence identification and collection on all major crime scenes, including officer involved shootings. The unit also handles a variety of evidence collection and documentation responsibilities in an assortment of property crimes.

The Firearms / Toolmark Unit is staffed by forensic scientists. The Firearms Unit was the first operational unit in the Denver Police Department’s crime laboratory. The unit examines firearms to ensure that they function properly, test-fire firearms for bullet and cartridge case recovery, and compare evidence bullets and cartridge cases to determine a match to a specific firearm. Additionally, the scientists examine items of evidence containing toolmarks to determine if the toolmarks are suitable for comparison and possibly what type of tools may have made those particular marks.  If tools are obtained from suspects, test toolmarks are made to see if they can be matched with the toolmarks found at crime scenes.

 Other examinations conducted are serial number restorations, physical matches (firearms and tools), and gun powder pattern testing. The Firearms Unit also enters digitally captured images of fired cartridge cases through the use of specialized equipment known as the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) in the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN). IBIS digitally captures an image of a cartridge, and then will upload those images to a database, which will then automatically perform a computer-based comparison of the image, and finally ranks the image according to the likelihood of a match with other images currently in the database. The firearm examiners then use their training and skills to perform a microscopic comparison of the original cartridge and the likely matches given by IBIS to determine if they can be positively matched to another case (criminal or not) involving a suspect firearm."

The Forensic Biology and DNA Unit is staffed by forensic DNA analysts and forensic biologists. These forensic scientists examine items of crime scene evidence such as sexual assault kits, clothing, weapons and other items, in order to identify biological fluids and stains including blood, semen, saliva or other cellular material. DNA testing is performed to identify the source of the biological fluids or stains collected from the items of crime scene evidence. DNA profiles obtained from these evidence items can be compared to DNA profiles obtained from known sources, such as a victim or a suspect in the case.

If no suspect is identified, the DNA profiles from evidence items may be entered into the COmbined DNA Index System (i.e., CODIS), the U.S. DNA database that includes DNA profiles from convicted offenders, as well as DNA profiles from other crime scenes from Colorado and the rest of the United States. The DNA unit currently utilizes PCR-based techniques to conduct STR and Y-STR analysis and has been awarded ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation by the Forensic Quality Services-International (FQS-I) Division of Forensic Quality Services, Inc. The unit has also been awarded several prestigious grants from the National Institute of Justice.
The Forensic Chemistry Unit is staffed by forensic scientists. Their primary role is the qualitative and quantitative analysis of controlled or suspected controlled substances. In addition, they analyze fire debris evidence for the Denver Fire Department, and human blood for the percentage of ethanol in suspected DUI incidents, vehicular assaults and homicides.
The Forensic Imaging Unit is staffed by civilian photographers. The unit handles the digital and video evidence produced by the Crime Lab and Crime Scene Investigators. They assist in the production of displays for Department and the Denver District Attorney’s Office. The unit also offers Forensic Video Analysis to assist investigators and other bureaus. They are the staff photographers, who offer training, technical advice, and support for DPD.

The Latent Print Unit is staffed by both sworn police detectives and forensic scientists. Commonly known as the first forensic science, the use of latent prints (fingerprints, palm prints, etc.) has been upheld in the United States court system for over 100 years. It is the first, and still primary, source for identifying individuals. The examiners analyze latent print evidence that has been recovered at crime scenes by the Crime Scene Unit as well as process particular evidence items brought to the Property Management Bureau. They then analyze the developed latent print images, which consist of friction ridge skin impressions made by the fingers and palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet.

Additionally, impressions made by tires and shoe soles are also developed for their quality and usability for comparison to control known impressions of the same areas of skin or article.

Latent print evidence can be developed by powders or chemical processes and is preserved by tape lifts or photography. If there is no known comparison subject for the developed latent print detail available, the fingerprint images can be searched through the Colorado AFIS and/or the Federal IAFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems) and the latent palm images can be searched through the AFIX Tracker, a known palmprint database. In some cases, these databases may provide the match to the latent print image in the list of candidates returned, and the identification of which is then verified by the re-examination of the original latent print evidence to the known finger or palm prints of a particular individual.

Known tire and shoe sole exemplars (i.e., a tire found on scene, a fingerprint card, or a shoe), when provided to the Latent Print Unit by investigating detectives, are also documented and compared to the latent tire or shoe sole print images in the same manner. An identification of a latent print image is only made if there are a sufficient quantity and quality of unique feature characteristics visible that are found to exist in both the unknown print and the known print source."

The Quality Assurance Unit is staffed by administrative personnel. The unit maintains the laboratory’s International Organization of Standards (ISO) requirements in partnership with Forensic Quality Services. In accordance with the forensic standards established by the laboratory, the QA unit assures the excellence of the science completed by each forensic unit according to national and international standards. Additionally, the unit maintains all records relating to the crime laboratory.
The Trace Evidence Unit is staffed by forensic scientists, including a forensic anthropologist. Their role is the comparative analysis of inorganic substances that include hair shafts, fibers, soils, paint, glass, explosive residue, and gun shot residue. They also examine metals, tape, rope, cloth, buttons, thread, botanicals & wood, fibers, pollen, soil, and unknown materials (i.e., chemicals). Additionally, the unit can conduct physical matches on items, such as a bottle broken at a crime scene.

Latest Crime Alerts

Major Crimes Division

Police Headquarters Building, Commander Ron Saunier
Phone: (720) 913-6037
Phone: (720) 913-6050
The Homicide / Robbery Bureau investigates instances where a death occurs except when traffic related, anything of value taken from a person by force, extortion, threats/intimidation, as well as weapons violations by juveniles.
Phone: (720) 913-6040
Sex Crimes responds to sexual assaults, as well as sexually-motivated child abductions by strangers. 

Sex Offender Registration:
(720) 913-6152

The Sex Offender Registration Unit oversees registration of sex offenders and coordinates notification to the community of sexually violent predators released within designated neighborhood boundary limits.
Hotline: (720) 913-6071
The Domestic Violence detectives investigate domestic violence incidents such as assault, kidnapping, threats, telephone harassment, restraining order violations, menacing, and stalking.

Phone: (720) 913-6752
Fraud is responsible for the investigation and case filing of complaints related to checks, credit cards, forgeries and frauds.

Phone: (720) 913-6154
Sex Offender Registration is responsible for maintaining records concerning registered sex offenders. To learn more, visit our web page at www.denvergov.org/sexoffenders.

Victim Assistance Unit
1331 Cherokee Street
Denver, CO 80224

Phone: (720) 913-6035 
Hours: Mon - Fri, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sat, Sun, & Holidays, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

We are on-call and available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year to provide crisis intervention and services to victims of crime or incidents of non-criminal, stark misfortune. 

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