the years, the Forensic Sciences Unit has distinguished itself in several ways.
Our investigators use highly advanced technology to excel in and help investigators
track down offenders of crimes in South Bend.
The South Bend Police Department uses an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). AFIS allows the unit technicians to directly query both the Indiana and FBI fingerprint databases for suspect fingerprints left at crime scenes. Crime scene fingerprints are entered into AFIS and searches these data bases for a matching suspect's fingerprints launched. This system allows the unit, and consequently the department as a whole, to solve a much larger number of crimes committed in our city and surrounding jurisdictions.
In addition to the AFIS system the South Bend Police Department also employs the use of an R-DAS system (remote data acquisition station). The R-DAS system is part of NIBIN (National Integrated Ballistic Information Network). The R-DAS is used to enter ballistic information which is then correlated against all other ballistic information within NIBIN. The ballistic information that is entered at the South Bend Police Department includes all casings and bullets recovered from crime scenes, as well as the casings and bullets recovered/test fired from each weapon taken into police custody. Currently the South Bend Police Department is the only City Police Department in the state that has an R-DAS unit.
South Bend Police Department has an in-house Forensic Science Laboratory. This
laboratory is responsible for the treatment and cataloging of crime scene evidence.
Certain evidence investigative tools are performed here, including super glue
fuming, fingerprint and ballistic examinations, digital photography image enhancement,
evidence recovery and analysis.
Sgt Ray Wolfenbarger is assigned to the crime lab and is the first officer of the South Bend Police Department to become a firearms and tool mark examiner. Sergeant Wolfenbarger attended the national firearm examiners Academy – NFEA, which was sponsored by the ATF. The NFEA is an intense 13 month training program where Sergeant Wolfenbarger was instructed by some of the best firearm and tool mark examiners in the country. Sergeant Wolfenbarger is responsible for working all of the firearm and tool mark cases for the South Bend Police Department and surrounding agencies. Sgt Wolfenbarger also oversees the test-firing of every recovered firearm. This testing allows the investigator to compare handguns to determine if they have also been used in other crimes, by matching and comparing data from the test sample to evidence recovered at actual crime scenes.
A few select Uniform Patrol officers who are specially trained receive the title of Uniform Crime Scene Technicians (UCST). At major crime scenes, UCST patrol officers take photographs, recover evidence, diagram crime scenes (including serious injury traffic crashes) and document the evidence found, which is then passed along for investigation.
The South Bend Police Department will continue to endeavor to keep our city as safe as possible through the use of cutting edge forensic technologies and highly skilled technicians and investigators.