Role of a Firearm and Toolmark Examiner
The role of a Firearm and Toolmark Examiner is to formulate opinions relative to submitted firearm and tool evidence which otherwise stands mute. Fully qualified Examiners, based on their training, research, and acquired knowledge, stand prepared to give voice to this otherwise mute evidence.
The St Louis County Police Crime Laboratory currently has four such full-time Firearm and Toolmark Examiners. In addition to simple firearm safety and function checks, it is the responsibility of these Examiners to evaluate and compare submitted evidence related to tools of any kind with the impressions they are suspected to have made. (Keep in mind that firearms are actually a specialized tool making impressions on other components, i.e. bullets and cartridge cases.)
This examination process includes the following phases: