Saturday, October 23, 2010

Crime Lab 101

On October 16 I had the pleasure of touring the Suffolk County Crime lab with the LIRW. I know I should have talked about it last Sunday but gee I don't know what happened but I just didn't get to it. (I think I was engrossed in the book THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE. Sorry.) Anywhooo, it was great seeing the evidence room and the labs.

I especially liked the ballistics room where they compare the markings on the bullets. The guys that work in there are whacky or at least seem to be going by how they've decorated the room. We didn't meet them. It was sort of like CSI meets the Addam's Family. On one wall there are skulls of different animals sitting on a shelf. A stuffed animal sat in a corner. I didn't check to see if it was real. Sitting on the edges of two framed displays of ammo were small figurines about one and a quarter inches tall. They're all different. Men and women of all types, shapes and dress, done in a comical way. Leather bound folders on shelves tucked into a corner held back issues of the American Rifleman from 1970-2003 and stero microscopes sat on the back table. Definitely a interesting eclectic array of items.

Though the electron microscope made my heart go pitter patter (yeah, I know I'm weird), the firearms vault was my second favorite room. Oh you should have seen all the guns, from machine guns to revolvers to cute little derringers. I know some gun enthausist is cringing at the word of cute. There was even a cane gun. We saw the firing tank which isn't anything spectacular, kind of ordinary looking, but it was still cool to see.

An autopsy was being performed and we all took glances into the room when we passed. Some of us were bothered by the sight while others, myself included, had trouble looking away. The body didn't look real. And I don't think it was because I wasn't wearing my distance glasses, others said the same thing. It was real alright. It was somebody's son. A reason for someone's grief.

But that's what this lab's about -death. What really struck me were the individual stations where the employees worked. I saw quite a few collages of personal photos if the person faced a wall. Photos, statues and buttons with funny sayings adorned the shelves at other locales. Each seemed to try to help the worker fend off the repetition and sadness that probably permeates a job like this. Who could blame them. I'd do the same thing.


  1. Donna, yeah - I felt a sadness walking around, too, wishing we didn't NEED such a place to begin with. Everything represented a life that was cut short all too soon. That semi-bizarre collection gathered by the absent firearms crew (past and present) was "different" to be sure :-) but I really think that going out with them for a drink after work would be quite interesting!(Oh, and a bottom shelf actually had more of those American Rifleman issues dating to 1950's!). That IBIS machine was cool too(Integrated Ballistics Identification System). So glad Bob Genna was such a great host.

  2. Jenna, I too wish we didn't need it but since the begining of man we've been trying to kill ourselves or each other whether it be with sticks, rocks, drugs, cars, guns or anything at hand. It's just how the human beasty is.

    Going out with any of the lab I think would be an eye opener. Imagine the stories. I didn't see the issues from the '50s. Wow. And I'm glad you got the name for the IBISmachine. I'm a little slow in the note taking.