ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County’s Crime Lab and Medical Examiner’s Office are both integral parts of the criminal justice system’s duty to create a safe public for everyone.

News 8 had the chance to get an inside look at the operations of the Monroe County Crime Lab, which processes thousands of pieces of evidence related to crimes throughout the year.

On Wednesday, top county officials issued a proclamation marking National Forensic Science Week, thanking the dedicated staff for the important, and often unseen, work they do each day.

It’s often to hear the term “ongoing police investigation” but what does that truly entail?

“Evidence comes in, evidence goes out. It’s a constant exchange of evidence,” said John Clark, Director of the Monroe County Crime Lab.

Clark has been serving in his role there for more than two decades. He explains that when police are called to investigate a crime, they collect any and all physical evidence. Every. Single. Thing.

“It could include firearms evidence, the guns themselves, bullets, projectiles, and you could have 20, 30 bullets in one case, and then you have drug evidence as well,” Clarks said.

Due to the continued uptick in crime this year, two new full-time positions were added within the firearms division. That section uses the National Integrated Ballistics Network, linking firearms to shootings.

“Once you increase your database, you’re going to make more connections between cases. And just a week or so ago we had a firearm that came in that was connected to 12 different shootings,” Clark said.

In 2021, the 29-person Crime Lab analyzed 10,299 evidence samples, worked on 117 arson cases, 75 homicide cases, and made 933 investigative leads.

“So we’ll use a reference gun, we’ll use parts from that gun to get the evidence gun to test-fire or discharge so we can get the known samples to then compare to the evidence from the crime scene,” says Clark.

Other sections of the crime lab include drugs and biology. Clark says… it’s all in a day’s work.

“So I think we know there’s a lot of other people that get involved in the investigation and we play a small part, but we try to do whatever we can to help find the truth,” adds Clark.

With those two new full-time positions this year, the director tells News 8 they are already seeing greater progress with more than 1,200 leads so far to date.

The other pillar supporting this type of critical work each day is the Medical Examiner’s Office. Dr. Nadia Granger spoke during Wednesday’s proclamation event, noting the dedication and heart each member brings to the team each day.

“We’re here because we love what we do and we love where we live, and because of that it becomes really important for us to help as much as possible the make the area as safe as possible, and we will do everything in our power to do so,” says Dr. Nadia Granger, Monroe County Medical Examiner.

One full-time position was added to the Crime Lab drug division this year, as well.