The Union County Prosecutor’s Office Forensics Laboratory, located at 400 North Avenue East in downtown Westfield, is the facility at which physical, narcotics, and DNA evidence is analyzed for the purposes of aiding criminal investigations in Union County.
The Laboratory was established in 1972 as the first county prosecutor’s lab in New Jersey. It first received accreditation through the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) in 2008. The laboratory is currently accredited by the ANSI National Accreditation Board to the ISO 17025 International Testing standards in the disciplines of Biology and Seized Drugs analysis. In 2010, the laboratory was approved to enter DNA profiles obtained from evidentiary samples into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), which is maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Technical Unit of the Forensic Laboratory is made up of two analytical sections: the Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) Section and the Forensic Biology Section. The CDS Section provides analysis of illicit drugs to support narcotics investigations and prosecutions. The Forensic Laboratory is designated by the State of New Jersey to certify drug analysis, and these certifications may be presented at trial in lieu of expert testimony. The Forensic Biology Section includes serology, which is the identification of bodily fluids, and DNA analysis, where a DNA profile is determined for investigative or legal purposes.
The lab handles thousands of cases each year and has played an instrumental role in solving many high-profile cases, including “cold case” homicides.