Cutting-Edge Technology Helps Baltimore Police Crack Big Case

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Solving crimes in Baltimore City. WJZ goes inside the police department’s high-tech crime lab that helped crack a big case recently.

Linh Bui gives us a detailed look.

Baltimore City’s crime lab is actually the biggest in the state. It plays a crucial role in fighting crime.

When it comes to putting criminals away, some of the most important work happens at the police department’s crime lab.

Last week, police arrested 25-year-old Bernard Burton. Using DNA, they linked him to a sexual assault and robbery that occurred earlier this month on East Fairmount Avenue.

“We were able to develop a suspect and make an arrest in this case,” said Sgt. Jarron Jackson, Baltimore City Police Department.

What happens at the lab is much more complicated than what you see on shows like CSI.

WJZ went inside the crime lab to learn how they solved the recent arrest.

It begins in the forensic bay. Evidence from the crime scene is sorted, packaged and processed. The evidence is then swabbed and screened for DNA.

“A lot of stuff is collected that isn’t actually probative or doesn’t actually have any biological fluids on it,” said Rana Santos, forensic biology technical leader. “So this is where the screening happens so we don’t waste a lot of time doing things that aren’t really necessary.”

Sophisticated instruments analyze the DNA samples, and a national database matches the DNA to a suspect.

“When we have a match, they’ll go back and they’ll re-test the match in order to verify its accuracy,” said Francis Chiafari, laboratory section director. “When all that process is done, then we actually instruct the detectives to go out and charge the person.”

Cutting-edge technology is helping put criminals behind bars.

The crime lab is constantly updating technology. One of the newest devices uses laser scanning to reconstruct crime scenes.

The Baltimore City Police Department’s crime lab does more casework than the rest of the state.

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