Crime Lab

Duties & Responsibilities

The Council Bluffs Police Crime Lab is comprised of four civilians (CSI's) responsible for the preservation, documentation, and collection of evidence at crime scenes. This includes using photography and videography and other equipment to document the scene.  Some evidence is large and obvious while other evidence can be invisible to the naked eye.

Locating Evidence

The use of a forensic light source is one way to enhance possible trace evidence. Other ways to locate evidence is the use of fingerprint powders, dye stains, and chemical applications. Fingerprints, hair, shoe prints, blood, and saliva are all examples of physical evidence at a scene. After evidence has been located and documented, it is collected using specific techniques for each item.


Other responsibilities include in-lab drug testing, latent fingerprint comparisons, photography, attending autopsies to document and collect possible evidence, as well as submitting evidence to the State of Iowa’s Division of Criminal Investigation Crime Lab for further testing and comparisons.

Fingerprinting Services

CSI's also provide fingerprinting services for citizens who are required to submit print cards for job applications and professional licensing.  Anyone needing to schedule an appointment to have their fingerprints processed can call 712-328-4710 to make arrangements.  There is a fee for this service.  The first fingerprint card is $20.00 and additional cards are $5.00 each.  

Automated Fingerprint Identification System

In April 2007, the CSI's began searching finger and palm prints using AFIS Technology. AFIS is an acronym for Automated Fingerprint Identification System. A "hit" occurs when a print lifted from a scene matches one in the AFIS database.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety maintains and operates the Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (AFIS). Council Bluffs Police department operates the AFIS remote workstation for Southwest Iowa.

The following are examples a finger and palm print identification:palm-print