15 49.0138 8.38624 1 0 4000 1 https://baltimorecitypolicedept.org 300 0

Crime Lab

Baltimore police

Laboratory Division,

Craftsmen that put the puzzle together….


Copyright: Gene M. Stevens; Used with permission

** Anyone requiring information about employment or internship with the BPD Crime Lab, please call or Email the Baltimore Police Department ** 410-396-2525 and ask for the Personnel Division or The Laboratory Division. Emails will no longer be answered by this site. Please use the above directions to receive the information you need.

***Any request for official police information must be made directly to:

Baltimore Police Department.

242 W. 29th St., Baltimore, MD

Emergencies: 9-1-1 Non-emergencies: 410-396-2037

BALTIMORE POLICE Web Site: http://www.baltimorepolice.org

crime lab shield


The objective of the Laboratory Division is to provide the Baltimore Police Department with the highest quality, most accurate and efficient forensic scientific support available.

History of the Baltimore Police Department’s Crime Laboratory


1948 – The history of the Baltimore Police Department’s Crime Laboratory began. It was built in a small room that was allocated for a crime laboratory as a part of the Detective Division, where then Sgt. Anthony F. Nelligan initiated the laundry and dry cleaning marks identification section, which he expanded to include handwriting and documents examination. He was joined by Sgt. Joseph Reitz who performed firearms examinations.

1951 – This one room soon proved too small for the growing crime laboratory and on October 26, 1951 the Crime Laboratory was formally established when Police Commissioner Beverly Ober promoted Lt. Anthony Nelligan, naming him as its head. The north wing of the 4th floor of the old headquarters building at Fallsway and Fayette, formally housing the printshop was set aside for this newly created department. By that time the Crime Laboratory included the specialties of Firearms, Chemical Tests, Laundry Marks, Documents, Photographic, Technical Arts, and Latent Fingerprints.

1952 – In 1952 the Gunshop (now called the Armory) was established by Police Commissioner Beverly Ober to provide maintenance and repair of departmental weapons. Personnel included Sgt. Arthur W. Plummer and Officer J. W. Freeman. This unit was under the control of the Crime Laboratory, until moved to the Property Division in 1966.

1954 – The Mobile Unit was established in May of 1954 with four two-man teams whom for the first time responded to crime scenes and collected evidence including latent fingerprints.

1955– In 1955 the eight men of the Mobile Unit responded to 2,372 crimes scenes.

1959 – By 1959 the Crime Laboratory, still a part of the Detective Division, had expanded its specialties to include explosives; tool mark identification; spectroscopic examination; restoration of obliterated identification marks; identification of jeweler’s scratch marks; chemical development of latent prints; and shoe, footprint, and tire casts.

1959 – Also in 1959, the Crime Laboratory implemented the use of the Breathalyzer to test persons arrested for driving under the influence. This function was a part of the Chemical Test Unit headed by Lt. Maurice A. Epple.

The first commanding officer of the Crime Laboratory Lt Anthony Nelligan was promoted to Captain and eventually retired from the department on 11/9/67. Lt. Daniel Kennedy was designated as Officer in Charge of the Crime Laboratory in September 26,1968. The appointment of Police Commissioner Donald D. Pomerleau in 1966 brought forth a reorganization of the Police Department that included a reorganization and expansion of the Crime Laboratory. The Crime Laboratory became the Laboratory Division and was moved to the Services Bureau.

1966 – By this time the Crime Laboratory had expanded its specialties to include Polygraph Examinations and Identikit sketches.

1966 – In 1966, the Crime Laboratory also performed some unusual functions such as making call box keys, training riot squad members and loading ammunition.

1968 – in 1968, the U.S. Customs Service examined 7,000 items for the Baltimore Police Department. This grant was obtained and work on a new expanded laboratory began.

1969 – In March of 1969, the Police Commissioner made a proposal to obtain a grant that would facilitate the construction of a new Crime Laboratory on the 5th floor of the new headquarters building already under construction. This proposal included site preparation, scientific equipment and furniture. This proposal also was the foundation for the Crime Laboratory to perform Controlled Dangerous Substance analyses, which at that time were being done at the U.S. Customs Service Chemical Laboratory.

1970 – the department started replacing sworn officers with civilian employees to return officers to the street.

1972 – The Crime Laboratory moved into its new quarters in September of 1972. Director Thomas M. Muller was named by Police Commissioner Donald D. Pomerleau in October of 1970. Starting in August of 1970 the department began to civilianize the Crime Laboratory, replacing sworn officers with civilian employees to return officers to the street.

Director Thomas Muller retired in 1996 and was replaced by Acting Director Sharon Talmadge until the appointment of Director Edgar F. Koch, Sr. in January of 1997. Since that time the Crime Laboratory has expanded its services and staff while limited to the 5th floor location it moved into in 1972. The Laboratory Division, now a part of the Criminal Investigation Bureau, moved to new facilities on the 9th and 10th floors of the renovated headquarters building starting in September, 1999.

1977 – Hair comparison-by-comparison microscopy began in 1977.

1980 – The Drug Analysis Unit began using automation to expedite drug analysis on the Gas Chromatographs and Mass Spectrometers in 1980.

Replacing sworn officers with civilian employees to return officers to the street, which enabled the department to use computerized fingerprint searches to assist examiners with respondents for potential latent print identifications.

1988 – In 1988 the Laboratory Division began the use of Lasers for the detection of latent prints and body fluids at crime scenes and on evidence.

1991 – In the Firearms Unit, Drug fire was obtained in 1991.

1991 – This system was replaced in 1991 with Morpho with new and improved capabilities. Fiber analysis and comparison using MICROVIS (visible light microspectrophotometry) and FTIR (Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy) began in 1988.

1991 – Gunshot Residue Analysis (GSR) using Scanning Electron Microscopy began in 1991.

The Firearms Unit was the pilot city for ATF’s batch transfer system, allowing electronic transfer of firearms information for tracing. DNA analysis, using outside vendors began in 1987 completely replacing conventional serology in 1996.

– The Breathalyzer was replaced with a computerized version, the Intoximeter in 1993.

– The Polygraph Unit began using a computerized polygraph instrument for conducting polygraph examinations in 1994.

996 – Identikit sketches were performed by the Mobile Unit until 1996 when a computerized version E-Fit was adopted by the department and became used by the detectives who were investigating the case.

– The Mobile Unit began using CAD aided design programs to do computerized crime scene sketches in 1996.

1997 – This system allows the Firearms Examiner to store thousands of images of fired cartridge cases for comparison at a computer station. Its bullet counterpart, Bulletproof, was obtained in 1997.

1999 – In 1999, the Laboratory Division received a grant from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) for a DNA facility housed in the newly renovated 0th floor of the Headquarters building.

2000 – The Mobile Unit moved their vehicle processing operation to the new processing bays in the renovated south drive of the headquarters building. With the reorganization of the department in 2000 the Laboratory became a Section. Many major scientific advances have been incorporated into the Crime Laboratory’s services in the last three decades.

2002 – In 2002, the Laboratory installed a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) for the Drug Analysis Unit, which creates electronic reports with electronic signatures. The Baltimore Police Department’s Laboratory Section provides forensic services to many law enforcement agencies within and outside of the City of Baltimore. The Laboratory Section continues to be dedicated to providing the highest quality, most accurate and efficient forensic support available to the Police Department, the criminal justice system and the citizens of Baltimore.


The Baltimore Police Department’s Laboratory Section provides forensic services to many law enforcement agencies within and outside of the City of Baltimore. The Laboratory Section continues to be dedicated to providing the highest quality, most accurate and efficient forensic support available to the Police Department, the criminal justice system and the citizens of Baltimore.


Joe Reitz (above) Baltimore Police Sergeant, who became one of the pioneers of the newly formed Crime Lab. Joe Reitz switched from officer to civilian employee to head up the firearms unit in the Lab.
Director Thomas Mueller (below) a Florida crime lab supervisor was appointed by Commissioner Pomerleau to head-up Baltimore’s lab.




Administrative Unit
Major Services provided:
1. Stores all reports generated within the Laboratory Division.
2. Maintains and distributes photographs and negatives
Drug Analysis Unit
Major Services Provided:
1. Analyze and identify Controlled Dangerous Substances as
evidence to the Evidence Control Section.
2. Statistical intelligence of information to the Police Department
as well as other state agencies.
3. Court testimony as to results of examinations performed.
Firearms Unit
Major Services provided:
1. Comparison of ammunition components and test fires from
firearm to each other.
2. Test fire firearms for operatibility.
3. Search open case files (i.e. Drug Fire)
4. Serial number restoration.
5. Gunshot Residue for distance determination analysis on
clothing and objects.
6. Toolmark examination and comparison.
7. Tracing through ATF computer.
8. Court testimony.
Latent Print Unit
Major Services Provided:
1. Physical Evidence such as
a. Paper
b. Cardboard
c. Unfinished wood
is processed for the presence of partial latent prints
2. Partial latent prints are:
a. Evaluated
b. Compared
c. Identified
3. All computer suitable partial prints are automatically entered into
the computer.
4. Court testimony provided as to results of examination
Mobile Crime Unit
Major Services Provided:
The Mobile Unit responds to crime scenes to assist investigative officers.
1. Document Crime Scene
a. Photography
b. Crime Scene Sketch
c. Detailed written report.
2. Recover Latent Prints
a. Crime Scene
b. Vehicles
3. Administer DWI breath testings
4. Recover other physical evidence
Photography Unit
Major Services Provided:
1. Identification Card Photo
2.Mug Shots
3. Photographic Services
Film processing
Photographic Printing
Photographic Coping
ID cards, Portraits,Evidence,Aerial, Retirement and
Video Stills from VHS,BETA,8mm
4. Photographic supplies
Polygraph Unit
Major Services Provided:
Polygraph services are provided to all units within the Baltimore Police Department,other City Agencies,and the Office of the Baltimore State’s Attorney.
Trace Analysis Unit
Major Services Provided:
Blood,Semen,DNA,Hairs,Fibers,Fabric,Paint,Glass,Metal,Bank Dyes,Tape,Bindings,Soil,Wood,explosives.
Flammable residues,shoe prints,tire tracks,
Gunshot primer residue (GSR)
HandwrittingHandprinting Comparisons
Typewriter/printer comparisons


1960’s Mobile Crime Lab Van


1963 Ford Station Wagons

1960’s Mobile Crime Lab Unit
1968 CHEVROLET Mobile Crime Lab Van displaying the new blue and white color scheme


On October 18,1980 Joseph A. Reitz and Alfred M. Woolridge. Supervisors of the Firearms Identification and latent Fingerprint Units, laboratory Division, were presented plaques of appreciation for their participation as lecturers at the Fall Seminar, Maryland Shorthand Reporters Association held at Easton, Maryland. Pictured are, left to right, Joseph A. Reitz, Alfred M. Woolridge, Mr. Bud Felkowski, President, Maryland Shorthand’ Reporters Association and Joseph V. Lanzetta, laboratory Division, Examination Section Supervisor.




Sharon Talmadge
Mike Jones

Latent Print processing and comparison


Sharon Talmadge,
Latent Print Unit Supervisor

The Baltimore Police Department’s crime lab has earned standing with an international accreditation board, culminating a 10-year effort. Sharon Talmadge is shown comparing crime scene fingerprints to prints in the database.bobsmithphotosectionsupervisor1978.jpg.w560h639
Bob Smith
PhotoUnit Supervisor


Firearms, bullets, cartridge casings



Officer Jim Perry, Firearms Examiner
P/O Jim Perry
Firearms Examiner
Demonstrating The Bullet Recovery Tank
Used toFire a weapon into and recover the bullet for comparison
Photo courtesy Lieut. Doug Baumgarten
Officer (Lieut) Doug Baumgarten standing with Officer Jim Perry on Doug’s graduation day from the Police Academy 1989.
Doug was detailed to work in the Crime Lab while awaiting the start of his academy class.


Agent Jackie Barbour
Firearms Examiner
Frank Boles Firearms Examiner

Jim Wagster Firearms Examiner
a former Baltimore County Officer

Tool marks


Serial number restoration


Trace analysis: fibers, fire debris, gunpowder residues, explosive, residues



Controlled dangerous substances


Drug analyst Candie Wolbert


Impression evidence footwear, tire tracks




Crime Lab Technicians investigating a shooting

4000 Cedardale Ave. NWD

June 29, 2007


Lab Personnel



Lab Personnel 1993 Takes a time out from the high demanding work to enjoy a Christmas Party (1993) and each other.

Bob “let me get my cameras” Smith- photo unit supervisor

Frank “let me get my food” Bowles
Agent Jackie ” I don’t know this chick behind me” Barbour, firearms examiner
Pam “let me tell you Jimbo” Shaw, lab tech.
Jim “don’t point that finger at me, its got a nail on the end of it” Wagster, firearms examiner
Bob “polygraph want a cracker” Neighbor, polograph graph examiner
Jack Ellis-retired Lab Division manager, Joe Reitz- retired firearms supervisor, Thomas Muller-retired Director lab division.
Hey Jack …. is the Boss still behind me???
Yes Joe, and he is smiling
Around the table left to right, Jim Wagster-firearm examiner…retired Police officer from Baltimore County PD, Jackie Barbour-firearms examiner, Bob Neighbor-polygraph examiner, Ron Stafford-firearms unit supervisor, retired Philadelphia PD officer
P/O Julio Ortega (left) Ron Stafford firearms unit supervisor (right) Ron was a Police Officer from Philadelphia PD.
“Julio, for the last time it’s a “cartridge” in a pear tree”
Sharon Talmadge (left) “Mother” as she was known as, Karen Sullivan (right) says-Ok mother……..
Pam Shaw, Mike Jones “Ain’t we got fun”
Joe Reitz retired firearms unit supervisor and P/O Tom Neimera background

Christmas is on hold….”I got a latent print here…..”

Sharon Talmadge, Latent Print Supervisor
Baltimore Police Department Fingerprint Cookies

1/2 Lb Butter

2/3 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp orange extract

2 ½ cups flour

1/ tsp salt

Beat butter and sugar, add eggs & extract

Add flour and salt. Blend well.

Roll into balls, press down in center with thumb to make a well. Fill with Jams or Jelly


The 1st. celebration of Police Week, which today has become a National Event, honoring the Law Enforcement Fallen Heroes of this City and this Nation The Baltimore Police Department’s CRIME LAB proudly displays exhibits and vehicles and personnel used to solve crimes

Crime Lab5

In the background of this photo, note the 1965 Ford. balck with a white roof on the right, and the 1967 Chevrolet with the new blue and white color scheme on the left.


Crime Lab2


Crime Lab4

1978 in the Police Headquarters Crime Lab unit of me and Walt Vaughn. I was a Sergeant and Walt was an Officer and we were assigned to the NED Vice and Narcotics Squad. Hope this contributes to our museum.
Courtesy Drew Hall
Walt Vaughn and Drew working a DEU stopped off at the Crime Lab



Forensic science involves the application of hard science and technology to the solution and prosecution of crime. Based upon the underlying principle that the criminal leaves part of himself at the scene, and takes part of the crime site with him, forensic science includes the identification and analysis of physical evidence in the form of impressions, trace evidence, and weaponry. Since physical evidence needs to be interpreted by an expert, it is, by definition, circumstantial. Fields of forensic science include: fingerprint technology, scientific lie detection, firearms identification, questioned documents, and forensic pathology, toxicology, chemistry, botany, entomology, anthropology, geology, and serology (DNA).



In 1901, Scotland Yard became the first law enforcement agency in the work to routinely fingerprint its arrestees. Fingerprint identification came to America in 1904 when the St. Louis Police Department established its fingerprint bureau. Before fingerprinting, arrestees were identified by sets of eleven body measurements, a system created in the 1870’s by the Frenchman, Alphonse Bertillon. By 1914, the year of Bertillon’s death, fingerprinting had replaced anthropometry or Bertillonage in every country except America where, in many jurisdictions, the outdated system was used until the 1920’s. Because a set of inked, rolled-on fingerprint impressions can be classified or grouped into ridge patterns — loops, whorls, and arches — arrestees who use aliases can be physically identified. Through centralized fingerprint repositories comprised of millions of fingerprint cards, individual arrest histories can be maintained on habitual offenders. These fingerprint collections are also responsible for the apprehension, every year, of thousands of fugitives. For example, a suspect wanted in for murder in Seattle who is arrested for burglary in Tampa, after his prints are matched with the Seattle fingerprint card, can be held in Tampa for the authorities who have been looking for him. Beyond the use of fingerprinting to maintain crime records and to catch fugitives, crime scene finger marks — so-called latent fingerprints — constitute one of the most common methods of linking suspects to the sites of their crimes. While latents can be made visible by various chemicals, iodine fuming, and laser technology, the most popular method of identifying and preserving fingerprints, particularly on hard surfaces, involves the use of fingerprint powder and special lifting tape. Crime scene latents can now be fed into a massive computer — the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) — and matched with a single rolled-on impression in the computer. Identifying unknown crime scene latents in this way is one of the few instances where forensic science can solve and prove the case. Perhaps the three most significant developments in the history of law enforcement and criminal investigation include fingerprint classification, AFIS, and the cutting edge science of DNA “fingerprinting.”



In the past called forensic ballistics, this forensic science concerns itself with the comparison and identification of crime scene bullets and shell casing firing pin impressions with the marks on test-fired rounds in the crime lab. If the marks on the bullet made by the test gun barrel are identical to the striations (rifling scratches) on the crime scene bullet, or the firing pin impressions are the same, the crime scene weapon has been identified. The science is grounded on the principal that no two guns will leave the same marks on the ammunition. Bullet striations and firing pin impressions are unique as a person’s fingerprints. Firearms identification also involves restoring filed off serial numbers, retracing projectile flights, identifying the various types of bullet wounds, and determining the range of close range shots through powder stain patterns on the target. Firearms identification experts apply the sciences of metallurgy, chemistry (gunshot residue analysis), microscopy, and ballistics. A knowledge of the gun smith trade is also useful. Like document examiners, forensic firearms experts are trained on-the-job in crime laboratories.



In order for a polygraph result to be accurate, the instrument must be in good working order; the examiner properly trained and experienced in question formulation and line chart interpretation; and the subject (examinee) a willing participant in the process. Not everyone is suited for polygraph testing. People who are ill, on drugs or alcohol, extremely obese, retarded, or mentally unbalanced should not be tested. The more serious the crime, the more reliable the results. It is important that the examiner be familiar with the details of the crime in question, otherwise he or she may not ask the most appropriate questions. The polygraph instrument measures and records the examinee’s involuntary, physiological (bodily) responses to a set of ten yes or no questions. The examinee will know in advance what questions will be asked. Based upon changes in the examinee’s blood pressure, heart rate, breathing patterns, and galvanic skin response, the examiner will draw conclusions whether, in response to the payload question – did you kill your uncle? – the subject is lying or telling the truth. Polygraph examiners are not recognized by the criminal courts as expert witnesses, therefore polygraph results are not admissible as evidence in criminal cases. A federal law passed in 1988 prohibits the use of the polygraph technique as a private sector pre-employment screening device. Most law enforcement agencies at all levels of government do test job candidates. It is a widely used investigative tool, and there are about a dozen polygraph schools in the United States.



Also referred to as questioned document examination, this branch of forensic science includes the identification of handwriting paper, ink, typewriting, and writing instruments. Ninety percent of a document examiner’s work has to do with the comparison of known handwriting samples with the questioned writing – a bank robbery note, a ransom document, the address on a mail bomb, a threatening letter, and signatures in wills, insurance policies and contracts that might have been forged. Examiners utilize chemistry, specialized photography, and microscopy in their work. A few specialize in the restoration of charred and burned documents. As forensic experts, they are often called to court as expert witnesses in civil and criminal cases. There are no schools for this kind of work, all education and training comes on-the-job in federal, state, county or big city crime laboratories.