Target, our favorite place to accidentally spend too much money has a secret. By no means is it a dirty one. However, it will surprise you. The Target stores corporation has a forensics lab, yes, the Target Forensic Services. And in the Target style, we’d expect, it’s pretty good. So good, in fact, that they help various law enforcement agencies solve their crimes.
The Target forensic team is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Las Vegas, Nevada. Their facilities are state of the art and complete in-depth processes to solve crimes. But, the forensics laboratory employees aren’t watching the screen and wondering “is that guy shoplifting that Taylor Swift record?” and solving the crime. Oh no, they are solving real crimes. Assets protection is included in some of their work, but for the most part, it looks more like murders, kidnappings, organized retail crime, and the like. With high-tech tools, they conduct investigative procedures like image analysis, video analysis, computer forensics, and latent fingerprint scans.
Since a large portion of Target’s lab work is private and investigative, we aren’t privy to all the CSI-level forensic work. Some of their feats are public. They helped find a kidnapped child via Walmart and other security cameras, piecing together images of the reported car and what the perpetrator was wearing. They also helped Houston law enforcement officials solve an arson case. There was also that one time they figured out that a high school girl was pregnant before her parents yikes!
American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors
Target’s Forensic Services laboratory is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/ Laboratory Accreditation Board, abbreviated (ASCLD/LAB.) These organizations have accredited fewer than 400 total crime labs in the United States. The fact that Target conducts and employs individuals with the appropriate “know-how” for this type of work is very impressive. Their team members come from all sectors of the criminal justice field. A few are even linked to the FBI. So, it’s safe to say that they are specialized and well-educated. In addition, around 30 percent of the Target Forensic Services workload includes
So, what’s the motive? Does Target have some deep dark secrets they’re trying to unassumingly hide? Or are they looking for a tax break? The answer is simple: charity. According to Target Forensic Lab’s higher-ups, the company just wants to give back and be part of the community. Chad Brekke, the Target Vice President of Assets Protection is quoted saying, “We ask for nothing in return. There’s no quid pro quo — we’ve never asked for video forensics services or anything else we’ve done for anything”.
Another forensics lab employee, Rick Laurtenbach says that “We’re lucky we get a chance to give back to communities in a meaningful way by helping officers”. While the Target corporation has donated hefty funds to local law enforcement in past years, this and its lab services are just their ways of giving back.
You learn something new every day.