November 24th, 1932 – The Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory

Today-In-History

In Washington, D.C., on November 24th, 1932, the FBI Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory (better known as the FBI Crime Lab) officially opened.

Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory

The FBI Laboratory is a division within the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation that provides forensic analysis support services to the FBI, as well as to state and local law enforcement agencies free of charge. The lab is currently located at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia. The lab was first known as the Technical Laboratory, but later it became a separate division when the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) was renamed in the FBI. Public tours of the lab work area were available until the FBI moved to the newly constructed J. Edgar Hoover Building in 1974. Tours of the J. Edgar Hoover Building still were available, but the route the tour moved away from the lab work space thus sealing the lab from public view. The laboratory expanded to such an extent that the Forensic Science Research and Training Center (FSRTC) was established at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Methods at the FSRTC helped establish standardized forensic practices for law enforcement agencies.

Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory 2

It is a full-service operation, with some 500 scientific experts and special agents. The lab generally enjoys the reputation as the premier crime lab in the United States. However, during the 1990s, its reputation and integrity came under withering criticism, primarily due to the revelations of Special Agent Dr. Frederic Whitehurst, the most prominent whistleblower in the history of the Bureau. Whitehurst was a harsh critic of conduct at the Lab, coming to believe that a lack of funding and a pro-prosecution bias of the Lab technicians, who were FBI agents first and forensic scientists secondly due to the institutional culture of the Bureau, had caused the tainting of much evidence.

“Today in History” on The Pandora Society dot com is primarily focused on Victorian and Edwardian history and does not always have a direct connection to Steampunk, Dieselpunk, or whatever punk; in fact it rarely does, but it is our hope that in sharing these historical events they might serve as some inspiration to the writers in our community to create potential alternative history stories which we look forward to reading 🙂


 

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