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Welcome to Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences Website

The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences is a science-based, independent operation comprised of two distinct forensic services for the Harris County community – the Medical Examiner Service and the Crime Laboratory Service.

The Medical Examiner Service investigates sudden death to determine cause and manner and to preserve evidence. The service encompasses the fields of Forensic Investigations, Forensic Pathology and morgue services, Forensic Anthropology, Forensic Imaging, Postmortem Toxicology and Histology.

The Crime Laboratory analyzes physical evidence and includes five distinct disciplines of Drug Chemistry, Forensic Toxicology, Trace Evidence, Firearms Identification and Forensic Genetics (serology/DNA).

While each service has its own objectives, both are jointly dedicated to serving the needs of the Harris County community and the justice system.

Click here to learn more about the Institute’s unique and highly specialized mission to provide forensic investigation and analysis to the citizens of Harris County.


With our county's close proximity to marine, manufacturing and chemical industries and its propensity for weather-related disasters, the Institute is prepared to respond to a disaster or incident resulting in mass fatality or chemical exposure.

At the left, you can view photos of the Institute's staff during an exercise held June 17, 2014 with Texas' only Disaster Portable Morgue Unit.


Acquired in spring 2013, the Disaster Portable Morgue Unit (DPMU) provides the equipment required for mobile morgue operations. This unit is available state-wide as well as in Harris County to provide full-scale morgue services should an incident occur that damages the Institute's facility, has the potential for contamination, or requires morgue operations to be closer to an incident site.

Click below to view a time-lapse video of the DPMU set up in the span of approximately six hours.

DPMU News Coverage:

Harris County has cutting edge portable morgue unit

KTRK/Channel 13, March 4, 2013

Harris County Unveils Mobile Morgue Unit

News 92FM, March 4, 2013

Harris County unveils new portable morgue unit

KHCW/Channel 39, June 17, 2014

(En Español)

Preparan morgue móvil para atender desastres

Univision/Channel 45, June 18, 2014

The Institute is a member institution of the Texas Medical Center© since 1983 and maintains its accreditation by six specific Forensic Science accrediting organizations.

Click here to learn more about the Institute’s accreditations.

News and Events
National Geographic News-Forensic Fly Moves North
Opinion by the County Attorney Regarding the Oath of Office

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