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CSI: Postal Inspection Service

Forensic division celebrates 75 years

Forensic lab
Sr. Firearms and Toolmark Examiner Shirley Marc uses a comparison microscope to examine bullets and other materials.

The Postal Inspection Service arm that uses “CSI”-style science to crack cases celebrated its 75th anniversary this week.

The Forensic Laboratory Services Division is comprised of a national laboratory in Dulles, VA, and 18 digital evidence labs around the nation.

These facilities use state-of-the-art equipment, including an automated fingerprint identification system and a system that identifies minute particles of trace evidence.

Other equipment extracts hidden and deleted data from mobile devices.

During the past year, the division’s forensic scientists examined more than 62,000 pieces of evidence — including fingerprints, controlled substances and digital files — that helped identify almost 900 criminal suspects.

Famous cases solved by the division include the 1972 investigation of Clifford Irving, whose fictitious biography of Howard Hughes was exposed by Postal Inspectors as a fraudulent use of the mail.

The 2007 Bishop Bomber case also was partially solved through the expertise of forensic employees, who analyzed threatening letters that escalated into the mailing of two pipe bombs. The bomber was arrested before causing any harm.

The division’s motto for its anniversary: “75 years of service through science.” Visit the Postal Inspection Service site to learn more.

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