The Criminal Investigation Branch is responsible for the taking of fingerprints and mug shots of persons charged with offences under the authority of the Identification of Criminals Act, the taking of DNA samples for the National DNA Data Bank from convicted persons, and, crime scene investigation.
An Identification Officer is a specialist in the recording of crime scenes, collection of physical evidence and the analysis of certain types of that evidence in order to assist with their prosecution in court. The crime scene is recorded by means of his observations of the scene, photographs and crime scene sketches. This has an important purpose. It helps the judge or judge and jury in a trial to see the crime scene and better understand the testimony of witnesses giving evidence. This helps them make an informed decision in the case at trial.
The collection of evidence and analysis of that evidence have become very popular with the general public thanks to a number of current television programs, such as CSI and Exhibit A. Rarely is the actual scene as exciting as television makes it out to be. Identification officers are trained to collect physical evidence that will later be analyzed by scientists at the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto. This includes paint chips, fibres, blood and other bodily fluids. The officers are trained to analyze and make identifications themselves on items such as fingerprints and footwear comparisons. For examinations that require expensive equipment and specialized post secondary education such as Biology, for blood and bodily fluids, and Chemistry, for arson firearms examination, we rely on the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto. This group of scientists offer us specialty examinations as well in, firearms and tool marks, handwriting analysis, and toxicology. The Centre is also responsible for the training of and monitoring of breath testing programs for drinking drivers in the Province.
Co-operation between Police Services is essential in Forensics. We rely on the AFIS system, (Automated Fingerprint Identification System), maintained by the RCMP and the O.P.P. for quick examination of unknown impressions. Further, the RCMP maintain the National DNA Databank, a new and powerful tool for identification of Criminals.
Finally, the Identification Specialist, is just one member of an investigation team, all members of which are dedicated to solving crimes within our community.