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Forensic Investigation Team


In early 2000, the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Chautauqua County Chiefs of Police Association, formed a Forensic Investigation Team (FIT). The Team is comprised of highly trained investigators from various agencies in the County. They respond to serious crimes such as homicides, assaults, rapes, robberies and major burglaries where they work together to collect evidence and reconstruct the crime scenes. The Team concept makes these investigations much more efficient and effective. With the advancements in DNA technology, the forensic investigation at a major crime scene can make the difference in finding evidence to connect a perpetrator to the crime. It is the first of its kind in New York State and is an important example of inter-municipal police cooperation. Collectively the Forensic Team has successfully investigated thousands of serious felonies. This elite team has a 23 team membership from the law enforcement agency within the County: An important purpose of the Team is to continually provide training and technology to its members to improve investigation of serious crimes by every police agency in Chautauqua County. Constant education and training is vital to enhance the Team’s knowledge and skills in evidence collection and crime scene technology. Thoroughly trained investigators are the key to convicting criminals so they won’t be around to commit more crimes. Most recently, FIT has been cross training with the Bomb and Fire Investigation Teams to aid in the coordinated investigation of post blast scenes as well as fire death scenes. The Team employs techniques learned in training for investigation/conviction in major crimes that might otherwise go unsolved or lead to criminals being acquitted.

Specialized training:


  • FBI Basic Fingerprinting

  • FBI Advanced Latent Fingerprinting

  • FBI Administrative Advanced Latent

  • NATB Theft & ID of Vehicles

  • FBI Evidence Collection/Preservation

  • FBI Identification Photography

  • Crime Scene Investigation

  • Death Notifications

  • Computer Crimes

  • Death Scene Investigation

  • Crime Scene Archaeology

  • Basic Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

  • Footwear Impression Interpretation

  • Advanced Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

  • RUVIS (Reflective Ultra Violet Imaging System)

  • Luminol & Presumptive Blood Testing

  • Team Building

  • Digital Photography

  • Shooting Incident Reconstruction

  • Post Blast Investigator

  • Incident Response to Terrorist Bombings

  • Grade Crossing Collision Investigations

eMail  the FIT Manager

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Forensic Team Managers:

Investigator Kristie Lyon Of The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office 
Detective Floyd Kent Of The City of Jamestown Police Department

When Sheriff Joseph A. Gerace & LT. Vincent Gerace worked together in the Crime Scene Division in the early 1990’s they dreamed that someday a County-wide forensic investigation team of experienced law enforcement officers would be organized. Long before the popular CSI TV show debuted, they envisioned a team made up of representatives of each police agency and the Sheriff’s Office. They began “paving the way” by teaching the NYS Crime Scene Tech classes to local police officers. The Forensic Investigation Team became an official reality in January 1st, 2000. Vincent J. Gerace, a highly educated & trained crime scene investigator, was tapped as the manager of the team by the Sheriff, the police chief’s association and the District Attorney. As the manager of the team, he is responsible for management of the most important, most serious crime scenes in the county.


The team consists of twenty 23 highly skilled officers. The team is called to sites where serious crimes have been committed in the county and where physical evidence collection and analysis is needed. The team has developed strict deployment protocols with the input, cooperation and approval of the Sheriff and Police Chiefs in the county. The team has been an overwhelming success and has been credited with the solution of several high profile cases.

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