Face Coverings Required at All DFS Facilities Effective May 29, 2020
On Tuesday, May 26, Governor Northam issued Executive Order 63 and Order of Public Health Emergency Five regarding the wearing of face coverings while inside buildings. Beginning on Friday, May 29, this Order requires all those entering state government buildings for the purposes of accessing government services to cover their mouth and nose with a face covering, as described and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All law enforcement officers, attorneys, and other individuals entering Department of Forensic Science facilities must have a face covering over their nose and mouth to enter the building, unless they have a health condition that would prohibit them from doing so. Out of respect and concern for the safety of our customers, DFS staff members will also be required to wear face coverings when interacting with our customers face-to-face.
DFS will continue with the measures it instituted in March 2020 to protect its customers and staff during the evidence submission/transmission process. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
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) |
Email: email@example.com or
|EASTERN (Eugene Price) |
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or
|NORTHERN (Amanda Matthews) |
Email: email@example.com or
|WESTERN (Chris McVey) |
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or
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.