2020 News Release

June 18, 2020

Public Information Bureau (609) 882-2000
Major Brian Polite - ext. 6514
Lt. Theodore Schafer - ext. 6515
SFC Jeff Flynn - ext. 6516
Sgt. Lawrence Peele - ext. 6531
Tpr. Alejandro Goez - ext. 6527
Tpr. Charles Marchan - ext. 6513

NJSP Ballistics Unit Becomes First Accredited Ballistics Lab in State History

Hamilton, N.J. - The New Jersey State Police Ballistics Unit has received national accreditation from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) for technical competence in the field of forensic testing.  The accreditation comes after an extensive two-year evaluation process, which represents not only a first for the New Jersey State Police, but a first for New Jersey as it is the only ballistics lab to be accredited in the State.

The Ballistic Unit is one of the oldest continually operating investigative units within the State Police.  The unit provides technical support to the law enforcement community by examining and testing firearms to determine their mechanical condition and operability.  By conducting the forensic analysis of firearms, the unit aids federal, state, and local law enforcement in their investigations pertaining to gun crimes.  These examinations often include the restoration of defaced serial numbers and the microscopic analysis of discharged bullets and cartridge cases, which allows investigators to link them to the firearm from which they were discharged.

The unit is comprised of State Troopers and civilian personnel including, state investigators, evidence handlers, and firearms examiners.  Firearm examiners undergo between 18 and 24 months of training and are certified to provide expert courtroom testimony in firearm and toolmark identification upon completion of training.

The A2LA is the only independent internationally recognized accreditation body in the United States that offers a full range of comprehensive conformity assessment accreditation services.  The accreditation is endorsed by the National Commission of Forensic Science, which is committed to ensuring that reliable and scientifically valid evidence is utilized when solving crimes.  The accreditation assesses the lab’s ability to generate and interpret results in firearm and toolmark identification.  Some of the requirements necessary for accreditation include:

  • Technical and administrative review of reports and supporting records
  • Written procedures for evidence (security, control, handling)
  • Testimony monitoring
  • Technical procedures (firearms operability, toolmarks, serial number restoration)
  • Training program (training manual with goals and objectives)
  • Proficiency testing
  • Corrective and preventative action process

“This prestigious accreditation earned by the Ballistics Unit speaks to a core value of the New Jersey State Police, which is a determination to be the very best and to represent the cutting edge of law enforcement worldwide,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “This accreditation is not just a plaque on the wall— it means that the Ballistics Unit is doing first-class work in solving gun crimes, helping to secure convictions, and making the people of New Jersey safer.  I commend the State Police leadership and the expert staff of this unit for this high recognition.”

“The New Jersey State Police has always been characterized as one of the premiere law enforcement organizations in the country, if not the world, and that recognition is the direct result of the relentless pursuit of excellence that our members, both enlisted and civilian, have demonstrated for nearly a century,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.  “I would like to personally commend the men and women of the New Jersey State Police Ballistics Unit, whose outstanding work ethic and dedication not only resulted in the State’s first accredited ballistics lab, but will in all likelihood lead to other ballistic labs throughout the State seeking accreditation.”

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