Locard studied medicine and law at Lyon, eventually becoming the assistant of Alexandre Lacassagne, a criminologist and professor. He held this post until 1910, when he began the foundation of his criminal laboratory. He produced a monumental, seven-volume work, Traité de Criminalistique. He continued with his research until his death in 1966.
In 1910, Locard succeeded in persuading the Police Department of Lyon (France) to give him two attic rooms and two assistants, to start what became the first police laboratory. He was a pioneer.
The young Georges Simenon, later to become a well-known detective writer, is known to have attended some Locard lectures in 1919 or 1920.
"When he wants it,, wherever he touches, whatever he leaves, even without consciousness, will serve as a silent witness against him his fingerprints or his footprints, but his hair, the fibers from his clothes, the glass he breaks, the tool mark he leaves, the paint he scratches, the blood or semen he deposits or collects. All of these and more, bear mute witness against him. This is evidence that does not forget. It is not confused by the excitement of the moment. It is not absent because human witnesses are. It is factual evidence. Physical evidence cannot be wrong, it cannot perjure itself, it cannot be wholly absent. Only human failure to find it, study and understand it, can diminish its value." - Dr. Edmond Locard 1942. Crime investigation: physical evidence and the police laboratory. Interscience Publishers, Inc.: New York.