Attorney General Knudsen Announces New Forensic Science Division Administrator
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen announced today the appointment of Travis Spinder to head the Montana Department of Justice’s Forensic Science Division (FSD). Spinder had been serving as interim administrator since April 2021.
Commonly referred to as the State Crime Lab, FSD houses the state’s forensic science laboratories and medical examiner system.
“Violent crime has become more prevalent in Montana over the last several years, including a double-digit spike in 2020. Our State Crime Lab is an essential piece of the Department of Justice’s efforts to find violent offenders and hold them accountable,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “Having an experienced and knowledgeable person like Travis leading this division is an asset to Montana.”
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead the Forensic Science Division in our mission to the criminal justice community in keeping Montanans safe,” Spinder said.
Spinder brings 24 years of forensic science experience to the role and has been with FSD since 2002. Prior to his appointment as interim administrator in April, Spinder served as the forensic science supervisor in the Crime Lab’s firearm and toolmark section and has also served as a forensic firearm and toolmark examiner. Previously, he was president of the Association of Firearms and Tool Mark Examiners.
In 2021, Montana Department of Justice’s forensic science laboratory was awarded the Foresight Maximus Award, which is awarded to the top performing forensic laboratories, for achieving 90 percent efficiency. The lab and the medical examiner’s office also recently became accredited by the National Association of Medical Examiners.
The Forensic Science Division is integral to the Department of Justice’s mission to fight crime in Montana and get dangerous criminals off the streets. The Division is responsible for testing and analyzing evidence for the criminal justice community across the state. The State Crime Lab houses the medical examiner, toxicology, chemical analysis, firearms/toolmarks, latent prints, DNA/serology, quality assurance, and evidence sections.