COVID-19 Updates

Laboratory Closure Notices

Updated: April 14, 2020 – All laboratories are open for business.

Changes to Training Courses

  • For updates on Breath Alcohol Training Courses, click here.
  • For updates on the Forensic Training Academy Training Short Course Schedule, click here.

Customer Update: March 26, 2020

The Department of Forensic Science continues to maintain its normal business hours at each laboratory with the exception that Evidence Receiving is closed daily from 12:00 – 1:00 PM for cleaning. DFS would like to take additional measures to protect its customers and staff during the evidence submission/transfer process.  

  • DFS encourages agencies to submit evidence via mail when possible.  Evidence mailing instructions can be found in the Department’s Evidence Handling and Laboratory Capabilities Guide, on p. 6 of the section entitled “General Submission of Evidence,” which can be found on the Department’s website here.
    • Please note that the following items of evidence may NOT be mailed: firearms and ammunition, explosives, flammable liquids, petroleum distillates and caustics.  
  • Please contact your local laboratory to set up an appointment for evidence submissions (if your agency does not currently have a scheduled time), in order to limit the number of individuals in the Evidence Receiving Section whenever possible. Submitters with appointments will be served before walk-ins. We greatly appreciate the law enforcement agencies that have already taken this step to limit the number of individuals entering the laboratory to submit evidence.
  • DFS requests that agencies submit RFLEs via facsimile or email to the appropriate Evidence Receiving Section the day prior to the evidence being delivered to reduce the amount of face-to-face time for evidence submissions at the laboratory, when feasible.  

Please note the contact information for the Evidence Receiving Sections at each laboratory:

CENTRAL (Ellen Spain)
Phone: 804.588.4027
Fax: 804.786.6924
Email: dfscentralevidencereceiving@dfs.virginia.gov or
Ellen.Spain@dfs.virginia.gov  
EASTERN (Eugene Price)
Phone: 757.355.5971
Fax: 757.683.2398
Email: dfseasternevidencereceiving@dfs.virginia.gov or
Eugene.Price@dfs.virginia.gov   
NORTHERN (Amanda Matthews)
Phone: 703.334.9766
Fax: 703.335.8365
Email: dfsnorthernevidencereceiving@dfs.virginia.gov or
Amanda.Matthews@dfs.virginia.gov   
WESTERN (Chris McVey)
Phone: 540.283.5906
Fax: 540.561-6631
Email: dfswesternevidencereceiving@dfs.virginia.gov or
Christopher.McVey@dfs.virginia.gov   

Customer Update: March 16, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department of Forensic Science is taking appropriate steps to ensure its continuing capability to provide forensic laboratory services to the Virginia criminal justice community while protecting the health and safety of its staff and customers to the greatest extent possible.   

Although the Department’s laboratories will generally maintain normal business hours, beginning Tuesday, March 17, Evidence Receiving will be closed from 12:00 – 1:00 PM each day.  During this time, the Department’s custodial staff will be cleaning and disinfecting the Evidence Receiving area and public area of each laboratory to protect customers and staff.  If feasible to promote social distancing, DFS requests that agencies limit the number of officers they send to submit evidence and/or the frequency they submit evidence.

In addition, Breath Alcohol operator classes and Forensic Training short courses in all locations for the next 30 days have been postponed. DFS will make every effort to reschedule these to a future date. 

The Department’s forensic scientists and other staff will be staggering their work schedules to allow for social distancing in the laboratory, yet permit the Department to continue to process and analyze evidence. Scientific staff have been instructed to notify the prosecutor if they are unable to appear for any court subpoena due to illness or quarantine status for potential exposure to COVID-19.  Our customers are reminded that the Department maintains video testimony capabilities for the testimony of the forensic scientists if the parties and the court are agreeable.  

As this situation continues to evolve, the Department may need to reassess its approach.  Our customers will be immediately contacted with any changes.  Thank you for your understanding.   For questions, you may contact the Department.