Iowa Department of Public Safety Division of Criminal Investigation

DNA Casework Section

Latent Prints & Impression Identification


Questioned Documents


Trace Evidence


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2240 South Ankeny Blvd
Ankeny, IA 50023
Telephone number (515) 725-1512
FAX number (515) 725-1523
Hours: Monday – Friday 8 am -4:30 pm

Evidence Storage

The Evidence Room is responsible for receiving items of evidence from law enforcement agencies and routing those items within the laboratory as needed to complete analytical requests.   Once examinations are complete, items are returned to the Evidence Room to return the originating agency or as described in disposition information as communicated in official laboratory reports.  All items are labeled utilizing barcodes and all records of evidence transfers are kept electronically in a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS).  Employees in this section are called Evidence Technicians and are responsible for maintaining up to date and accurate chain of custody information and testify in court when needed.

The DCI Laboratory’s Evidence Room processes approximately 30,000 items of evidence annually, accounting for approximately 14,000 cases.   Periodic audits of items stored in the evidence room’s storage locations are performed to ensure the highest level of integrity for evidence submitted and stored in the laboratory.”

  • All evidence coming into the DCI Lab must be PROPERLY SEALED.  The seal should be notated with at least the date you are sealing the evidence and your initials.  Please call the evidence room with any questions about sealing up evidence.
    • A seal is defined as a barrier that must be broken to open an item, the break in the barrier must be easily observed.
    • Heat seals must have the date you are sealing the evidence and your initials written on the seal.
    • A staple is not considered a seal.
    • If the contents are escaping the container or if you can lift and replace the evidence tape without damage or alteration to the container or its seal it is not considered sealed.
    • Improperly sealed or packaged evidence received by mail will be documented with submitting agency notified, hand delivered evidence will not be accepted until properly sealed.
    • An acceptable seal is one that prevents the ready escape of the evidence and will be clearly damaged or altered if broken to enter to package.  

    • Some items of evidence (e.g.  large bulky items, doors etc.) maybe submitted by only covering the area to be tested.
    • Make sure that the evidence is clearly marked so that your agency ID listed on the evidence matches the pre-logged receipt form.


    • Firearms: All firearms must be unloaded prior to mailing or submission to the lab. Live ammunition must be hand delivered to be submitted.  If the case warrants leaving the cartridges in the weapon then it must be hand delivered.  The laboratory must be informed that a weapon is loaded.
    • Hazardous Chemicals:  Flammable and other hazardous chemical materials must be delivered in person.
    • Biohazards:  All biohazards must be in a leak-proof container that will contain all contents and prevent leakage during handling, storage, and transport.
    • Warning Labels:
      Note any warning on the package. For example: Biohazard, Hepatitis or HIV, Glass, Sharp, etc. on the internal packaging.


    • There should be no indication on the outside packaging when mailed that the package contains evidence (i.e., Drug identification, Firearms examination, etc.).  Outside packaging must include the agency name and return address.
        • Remove contents of syringe and place in an appropriate container for submission.  Water may be needed to remove evidence from syringe.
        • All sharps should be placed in a box not a paper bag.  Write “SHARP” or “Caution” on the box.


    Evidence Delivery: Hand delivered, US mailed, Fed Ex, UPS or other courier. 
    Evidence may be delivered in person  8:00 am - 4:00 pm, Monday- Friday.

    Evidence Submission:  Regardless of the method of delivering all evidence must be pre-logged using the site below.
    Pre-log site: 

    • Users of the pre-log site must have a user ID and password.
    • DCI Laboratory reports are also obtained from the pre-log site.
    • To expedite when picking up evidence, please call ahead (515) 725-1512.


    Evidence Guidelines:  A link to the complete submission guidelines can be found on the pre-log site.

    • Drug paraphernalia will not be accepted unless it is the only item in the case.
    • Purity work will be performed on only federal cases of one gram or more.
    • Controlled substances must be separated from packaging prior to submittal when cases require latent print processing. (Exceptions: tightly wrapped bricks/bundles or heat sealed.)  Small tied off corners of plastic bags will not be processed for prints.
    • No latent print examinations will be performed on drug cases when the drug evidence is taken off the suspect’s person.
    • Homicides
      • Up to 10 probative items
    • Sexual Crimes
      • With sexual assault kit – one additional probative item
      • No sexual assault kit – up to three probative items
    • All Other Crimes Against Persons
      • Up to three probative items
    • Property Crimes
      • Up to two probative items
      • Requests for latent prints on the following crimes will not be accepted.
        • Felon in possession – when taken off the person
        • Found property (not involved in a criminal act)
        • Criminal mischief with damages less than $1,000
        • Tied corners of plastic bags containing suspected drugs.



    • How can I save a biological sample? 

      All biological specimens are held for a minimum of 90 days after testing is completed.   If you need a sample saved you must contact the evidence room.  All specimens will be returned to the submitting agency as it is not possible for the laboratory to store biological materials on a long term basis.

      How do I forward a sample to another laboratory?

      After contacting the independent laboratory you can forward any paperwork they require to the Evidence Room to be included with the evidence to be sent to the laboratory.

      How do I get a case rushed?

       You will need to contact your County Attorney to submit a letter to the evidence room to expedite the case.   This letter must include the court date and  as much of the following as known:

      Suspect Name
      Agency Case Number
      Laboratory Case Number

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