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WHEREAS, forensic science and medicine play a crucial role in criminal investigations and the administration of justice; and
WHEREAS, crime scene investigators in the Commonwealth collect, preserve, and submit evidence to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science for analysis; and
WHEREAS, forensic scientists at the Virginia Department of Forensic Science’s laboratories provide unbiased, accurate, and reliable analysis of recovered evidence; and
WHEREAS, the Virginia Department of Forensic Science provides forensic services to support the criminal justice system through its Breath Alcohol, Controlled Substances, Digital & Multimedia Evidence, Firearms & Toolmarks, Forensic Biology, Forensic Training, Latent Prints & Impressions, Toxicology, and Trace Evidence sections; and
WHEREAS, access to quality and timely forensic analysis significantly improves the investigation of criminal activity, assists medical examiners in determining cause and manner of death, and aids in the prosecution of the guilty and the exoneration of the innocent; and
WHEREAS, the Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is responsible for investigating the deaths of individuals who died from trauma or violence, when sudden and unexpected, while unattended by a physician, under suspicious circumstances, or in the custody of law enforcement or other state or local authority; and
WHEREAS, the Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner provides forensic medicine services to support the criminal justice system through its performance of autopsies, external examinations, and death scene investigations; and
WHEREAS, medical examiners conduct thorough, unbiased, and timely medico-legal death investigations to determine the cause and manner of death of individuals; and
WHEREAS, data from Virginia Department of Forensic Science seized drug and toxicology cases and data from Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner cases are analyzed to assist the Commonwealth in developing strategies to reduce violent death and in responding to the opioid crisis; and
WHEREAS, the hardworking people of our forensic science and medicine communities in Virginia deserve recognition for their commitment to quality and unbiased scientific analysis and medico-legal death investigations to assist in the administration of justice;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize September 16-22, 2018, as FORENSIC SCIENCE AND MEDICINE WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.