UCPO Hires New Forensic Lab Director

Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow is pleased to announce that Matthew Gabriel has joined the staff of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office as director of the Forensics Laboratory.

As the civilian director of the laboratory, Mr. Gabriel directs and evaluates the supervision of chemical, instrumental, and physical analysis of evidence. This includes the examination and testing of controlled substances and biological samples (DNA) to support investigative and prosecutorial efforts.  He began working at the laboratory in December 2011, following a nationwide search.

A graduate of both Loyola College and The George Washington University where he earned degrees in Forensic Sciences (MFS) and Biology (BS), Mr. Gabriel spent nearly 10 years working for the San Francisco Police Department’s Forensic Services Division. There he served in a number of roles including forensic biology section supervisor and a project manager where he spearheaded an effort to develop a system to support forensic science examinations.

The Union County Prosecutor’s Forensic Laboratory received accreditation in the disciplines of Controlled Substances and Biology through the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) in 2008. Union County was the first county laboratory in New Jersey to receive DNA certification from ASCLD/LAB and the second in the state, along with the New Jersey State Police Forensic Laboratory.

In his role as director, Mr. Gabriel will oversee the review of evidence for court reporting purposes, develop regulatory guidelines for compliance with current forensic laboratory quality assurance reporting guidelines to maintain the laboratory’s accreditation. He will also provide expert witness testimony in criminal proceedings.

Accreditation came after a thorough evaluation of the lab’s technical procedures, personnel qualifications, management practices and quality assurance program. The Forensic Laboratory met or exceeded all 151 required criteria and is therefore recognized for this achievement in New Jersey as well as nationally.

The Forensic Laboratory’s biology section provides DNA analysis to support criminal prosecutions. The Forensic Laboratory has the ability to search DNA profiles from evidence items that meet the FBI’s requirements to that of convicted offenders and DNA profiles from other unsolved cases via the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS.

The Union County Prosecutor’s Office Forensic Laboratory handles thousands of cases each year, and has played an instrumental role in solving many high-profile cases, including so-called “cold case” homicides.

“Matt brings a great wealth of experience, common sense, and a keen scientific mind to the forensic laboratory,” said Prosecutor Romankow. “The laboratory is in capable hands and has a new reason for residents to be proud of this great resource.”