Creation of a New Division
The Delaware Division of Forensic Science (DFS) was established on June 24, 2014 with the signing of Senate Bill 241. The bill received broad bi-partisan support in both the State Senate and House of Representatives. The legislation reassigned forensic and pathology examinations, formerly performed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) within the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS). In addition, a Commission on Forensic Science was created and is charged with providing guidance to ensure the continued success of the DFS, while also supporting development and growth to better serve the justice system.
In keeping with the DFS mantra of “Science Serving Justice,” the agency continues to strive to improve efficiencies in its business practices. Since inception, DFS has broadly enhanced operations and administration, embracing every challenge as an opportunity to improve. Improvements have been realized in the hiring of additional staff, remediating infrastructure deficiencies, updating IT systems and technical capabilities, initiating analytical processes to better manage and monitor work production and caseloads, renovating the information management system, streamlining analytical processes and strengthening communications to better serve clients, while also installing a comprehensive security system that has improved access and evidence control and chain-of-custody management, transitioning to a highly regarded accreditation body for forensic audits, and renewing accreditation in pathology. The DFS forensic scientists, pathologists, and support staff have persevered through dramatic changes in business practices over the past few years while still serving customer needs.
The 2014 legislation that established the DFS created a Director position to lead the division and a Chief Operating Officer (COO) position to manage Division operations. This organizational change now permits the Chief Medical Examiner to focus solely on pathology responsibilities without being burdened with the operational and administrative demands associated with the Toxicology, DNA, and Forensic Chemistry laboratories. Furthermore, the Director provides an administrative and leadership perspective to the DFS team. The new structure of the DFS organization has created a collaborative leadership model, whereby all disciplines are collectively vested in the success of the organization. The leadership team is working to ensure that the citizens of Delaware receive the best forensic science service. To this end, the DFS team strives to maintain the highest scientific standards and is diligently working to ensure organizational and individual integrity.
It is the mission of the Division of Forensic Science to provide the most reliable scientific analysis of evidence for the administration of justice.
The Division of Forensic Science strives to be a highly respected forensic pathology and laboratory service in Delaware. To this end, all Division employees shall produce work that meets and/or exceeds accreditation and certification standards with the highest level of competence achievable in Forensic Pathology, Forensic Chemistry, Forensic Toxicology, and Forensic DNA Analysis. All Pathologists, Scientists and other disciplines shall demonstrate the highest possible ethical and educational standards and be certified in their respective forensic discipline.
The Division is committed to the following Core Values: