Michigan State Police analysts gain insight on blown film plastic construction
Nineteen forensic scientists from the Michigan State Police visited Petoskey Plastics plant on Wednesday, September 27th. The scientists are analysts for the Trace Evidence and Questioned Documents units. The Questioned Documents Unit examines writing, printing, ink, paper, impressions, and other documents. The Trace Evidence Unit analyzes many types of evidence such as fibers, paint, glass, and explosives, along with fire debris and footwear and tire impressions. In addition, as explained on the Michigan.gov site, is referred to as the “catch-all” unit, receiving other evidence types when no other units are able to analyze it.
As Chris Bily writes in his article “The Evidence is in the Bag” for Evidence Magazine, “[Plastic bags] are often examined for latent prints and trace evidence but can contain much more evidentiary value. There exists other lesser-known characteristics that are imparted to a bag as a result of the manufacturing process.” As an example, these characteristics could be used to compare a plastic bag from a crime scene back to known source bags found in a suspect’s possession.
Plant associates acting as tour guides enjoyed this group of visitors because they asked such engaging questions. The scientists were particularly interested in the physical traits of the finished blown film products, such as multi-layers, perforations, and seal types, as well as Petoskey Plastics’ technological capabilities and quality lab. Scientists from the Questioned Documents Unit were especially curious about the printing process during the plant tour.
Cheryl Lozen, Technical Leader of the Michigan State Police Trace Evidence and Questioned Documents units, explained their visit is part of their annual unit meeting where all scientists from these units throughout the state of Michigan get
together for various discussions and learning opportunities.
Petoskey Plastics is an environmentally focused recycler and plastic film, bag and resin manufacturer providing superior products and solutions. Headquartered in Petoskey, Michigan, the company provides products and engineered solutions for a variety of industries including automotive, industrial, institutional, retail, construction and home improvement. Petoskey Plastics has facilities in Michigan, Indiana and Tennessee. Learn more at petoskeyplastics.com.
The Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division is a network of eight regional laboratories strategically located to serve both the urban and rural communities of the Great Lakes State. Their laboratories provide Forensic Science services in seven technical disciplines, including Biology/DNA, Firearms & Toolmarks, Trace Evidence/Questioned Documents, Toxicology, Crime Scene Response/Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, Latent Prints, and Controlled Substances. Learn more at michigan.gov.