NIJ Forensic Science R&D Symposium  |  February 14, 2017

The Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) assisted the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in hosting the annual NIJ Forensic Science Research and Development (R&D) Symposium on February 14, 2017 at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. The NIJ Forensic Science R&D Symposium is a free and open meeting where attendees learned about NIJ-funded research across a variety of forensic science areas. [Read more and access archived content]

Looking Ahead: The National Sexual Assault Policy Symposium  |  September 8-9, 2016

Through the FTCoE, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) hosted Looking Ahead: The National Sexual Assault Policy Symposium. The symposium focused on how the nation is moving forward and finding solutions to the complex issues that arise in sexual assault cases and in testing sexual assault evidence. This unprecedented event, which featured an array of stakeholders including medical staff, law enforcement, crime laboratories, victims’ advocates, and prosecution, highlighted current accomplishments and shared valuable experiences from jurisdictions throughout the country. The goal of the event was to support our nation’s policymakers and practitioners as they drive future efforts to solve sexual assault cases, provide justice to victims, and ultimately improve public health and public safety. [Read more and access archived content]

NIJ Forensic Science R&D Symposium  |  February 23, 2016

The Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) assisted the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in hosting the annual NIJ Forensic Science Research and Development (R&D) Symposium on February 23, 2016 at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada. The NIJ Forensic Science R&D Symposium is a free and open meeting where attendees learned about NIJ-funded research across a variety of forensic science areas. [Read more and access archived content]

Impression, Pattern & Trace Evidence Symposium  |  August 25-27, 2015

The Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) hosted the Impression, Pattern and Trace Evidence Symposium (IPTES) on August 25-27, 2015, in San Antonio, Texas. The symposium was specifically designed to bring together practitioners and researchers to enhance information-sharing and promote collaboration among the impression, pattern and trace evidence, law enforcement and legal communities. Topics include the latest developments and challenges to fingerprint, shoeprint and tire tread evidence, questioned documents, bloodstain pattern analysis, biometrics, firearms/toolmarks, digital photography, fibers, paint, tape and other types of evidence as well as calculation of error rate, testimony, interpretation/reporting, case studies, and technology applications. [Read more and access archived content]

NIJ Forensic Science R&D Symposium  |  February 17, 2015

The Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) assisted the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in hosting the annual NIJ Forensic Science Research and Development (R&D) Symposium on February 17, 2015 at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) meeting in Orlando, Florida. The NIJ Forensic Science R&D Symposium is a free and open meeting where attendees learned about NIJ-funded research across a variety of forensic science areas. [Read more and access archived content]

Impression & Pattern Evidence Symposium  |  August 5-9, 2012

The Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) hosted the Impression & Pattern Evidence Symposium (IPES) on August 5-9, 2012, in Clearwater, Florida. The symposium brought together practitioners and researchers to enhance information-sharing and promote collaboration among the impression and pattern evidence, law enforcement, and legal communities. Topics included the latest developments and challenges to fingerprint, footwear and tire tread evidence, questioned documents, bloodstain pattern analysis, firearms, toolmarks, and other types of evidence as well as calculation of error rate, testimony, interpretation/reporting, case studies, and technology applications. [Read more and access archived content]

Navigating the Sea of Resources for Sexual Assault Programs  |  February 14, 2017

The FTCoE hosted this workshop at the American Academy of Forensic Science Meeting (AAFS) in New Orleans, Louisiana. This workshop highlighted how federal resources in the United States can advance victim-centered support programs, investigations, and forensic services that aid sexual assault programs, especially the processing of untested sexual assault kits (SAKs) and forensic evidence which bolster the criminal justice process. [Read more]

Understanding the Basic Science and Testimony of Latent Prints  |  February 13, 2017

The FTCoE hosted this workshop at the American Academy of Forensic Science Meeting (AAFS) in New Orleans, Louisiana. This workshop impacted the forensic community by assisting the legal community to better understand the basic scientific principles behind friction ridge comparisons. This workshop provided the legal community with the tools to critically evaluate friction ridge testimony, which will in turn allow them to better advocate for the science, challenge the science, or fulfill a gatekeeping role, as their positions within the legal system dictate. These skills will improve the application of friction ridge comparison science in the legal system by helping to ensure that it is presented responsibly and used appropriately, increasing its value to the legal system. [Read more]

Advanced Radiologic Imaging in Medicolegal Death Investigation   |  November 11-13, 2016

In conjunction with the University of New Mexico, the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) hosted a technology transition workshop focusing on advanced radiologic imaging for medicolegal death investigation on November 11-13, 2016. The workshop was held at the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator Radiology-Pathology Center for Forensic Imaging (CFI) and a computer laboratory at the University of New Mexico Health Science Center, School of Medicine. The goal of the workshop was to enable and enhance the effective transfer of advanced imaging technology into forensic practice in the United States.  This goal was accomplished by introducing attendees to the history and current status of radiology and advanced imaging in forensics, basic concepts in the production of CT ad MR images, CT and MR protocols, image viewing software, 3D rendering, and interpretation/reporting of advanced imaging. [Read more]

Statistics and Applied Mathematics in Forensic Science  |  October 31-November 2, 2016

The purpose of this 3-day workshop was to refresh, review and complete basic notions of statistics and probability theory that apply to a wide range of forensic disciplines and evidence types. Fundamental statistical concepts, such as confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, sampling theory, logical inference, and their applications to forensic problems, such as sampling among large drug seizures, calculating confidence interval in forensic chemistry and toxicology, interpreting the probative value of pattern evidence were presented, discussed and practiced in class. Examples focused on trace and pattern evidence, as well as forensic drug analysis and toxicology. [Read more and access workshop materials]

Experiencing the Forensic Laboratory Massively Parallel Sequencing Workflow through Simulation  |  September 26, 2016

At the International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI) in Minneapolis, MN on September 26, 2016, the NIJ’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) presented at a workshop that provided attendees with a unique opportunity to learn best practices to implement massively parallel sequencing (MPS) into a typical forensic laboratory workflow. Supported by the FTCoE, University of North Texas Health Science Center, and North Carolina State University, an immersive and interactive virtual simulation tool was showcased that guides DNA practitioners through three commercially available forensic laboratory processes amenable to two MPS instruments. [Read more and access workshop materials]

Courtroom Knowledge of Forensic Technology and the Impact on Frye and Daubert Standards  |  August 9-10, 2016

On August 9-10, 2016 at Duquesne University and the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) held the Courtroom Knowledge of Forensic Technology and the Impact on Frye and Daubert Standards workshop. This workshop focused on introducing and enhancing the knowledge of innovative forensic technologies to legal professionals, including how newer technologies need to be supported in order to pass a Frye or Daubert test. Background information about technology and scientific methodologies  included presentations and panel discussions by discipline specific experts.  Case examples and vignettes were used to illustrate and define questions about technology and admissibility. [Read more]

Discovery and Recovery: Death Investigation in Natural Environments  |  August 2-4, 2016

This workshop focused on disseminating practical knowledge of how to discover and recover clandestine burials, including the documentation and collection of anthropological and entomological evidence. Attendees gained a fundamental understanding of how to search for and flag evidence using triangulation, mapping, and compass work.  Additionally, participants were instructed on how to apply the scientific method for human vs. non-human identification, insect identification, and estimation of Post-Mortem Interval (PMI) using entomological evidence. [Read more and access workshop materials]

Statistics and Applied Mathematics in Forensic Science   |  May 17-19, 2016

The Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) hosted the Statistics and Applied Mathematics in Forensic Science workshop on May 17-19, 2016 at the RTI International location in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The purpose of this 3-day workshop was to refresh, review and complete basic notions of statistics and probability theory that apply to a wide range of forensic disciplines and evidence types. Fundamental statistical concepts, such as confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, sampling theory, logical inference, and their applications to forensic problems, such as sampling among large drug seizures, calculating confidence interval in forensic chemistry and toxicology, interpreting the probative value of pattern evidence were presented, discussed and practiced in class. [Read more and access workshop materials]

Statistical Methods for Decision-Making in Toxicology   |  October 19, 2015

The Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) hosted the Statistical Methods for Decision-Making in Toxicology workshop on October 19, 2015 at the Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT) annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. This workshop covered an introduction to basic statistics and hypothesis testing for analytical chemical measurements in toxicology, including calibration, limits of detection, validation, uncertainty estimation, and statistical quality control. [Read more]

Statistical Methods for Forensic Decision-Making  |  August 24, 2015

The Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) hosted the Statistical Methods for Forensic Decision-Making workshop on August 24, 2015 in San Antonio, Texas. This workshop reviewed the application of statistical methods to practical decision making requirements in the forensic laboratory. The specific statistical concepts covered include measures of accuracy and uncertainty, confidence intervals for means, hypothesis tests (both parametric and nonparametric) for comparing means and for comparing variances, one‐way analysis of variance, statistical power, and outlier detection. The use of receiver‐operator characteristic (ROC) plots for evaluating decisions were presented, as well as the application of multivariate statistics to trace evidence data from a variety of spectroscopic, chromatographic, mass spectrometric, and  other sources.  [Read more]

Sexual Assault on Campus: Investigation, Prosecution, Title IX and the Role of Forensic Nursing  |  May 1, 2015

Although as many as one in five female college students will be sexually assaulted during her undergraduate career, less than 5% of completed or attempted rapes against college women are reported to law enforcement, and reported assailants receive little or no punishment from their schools’ judicial systems. Nearly one year after the White House issued “Not Alone,” a report on steps colleges should take to address sexual assaults, and after the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights unveiled a list of 55 schools under investigation for possible Title IX violations, the FTCoE hosted this symposium in collaboration with the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law at Duquesne University. [Read more and access archived content]

Cognitive Factors in Forensic Decision Making  |  April 7-8, 2015

Led by Dr. Itiel Dror of Cognitive Consultants International HQ, this workshop explained brain and cognitive mechanisms that are relevant to forensic decision making. The goal of this workshop was to provide forensic examiners training by cognitive experts to recognize and minimize bias in forensic science. Forensic science plays a pivotal role in policing and the criminal justice system. Although it is widely used and accepted evidence, the work involved in making forensic comparisons requires human perception, judgment, and decisionmaking. Forensic examiners receive training; however, this training does not sufficiently address cognitive factors in making forensic comparisons. [Learn more about Dr. Dror’s work on human factors]

Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault Workshop  |  August 11-12, 2014

The FTCoE hosted a two-day workshop on drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA) in conjunction with the Society of Forensic Toxicologists continuing Education and Drug-facilitated Crimes Committees with the DC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. This workshop included lectures on the investigation and prosecution of DFSA cases, alcohol and memory, and the various drugs used to facilitate sexual assault. [Read more and access archived content]

A DNA Revolution – Next Generation Technologies   |  May 21-23, 2013

On May 21-23, 2013 at the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) in Fort Worth, Texas, the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) held the Technology Transition Workshop: A DNA Revolution – Next Generation Technologies. The goal of this workshop was to disseminate new and innovative technical and scientific knowledge on next generation DNA sequencing technologies to forensic laboratory practitioners. The workshop focused on scientific advancements in DNA analysis methodologies, with discussion of potential applications in forensic identification. [Read more]

Forensic Optical Topography Working Group  |  March 17-18, 2015

This working group sought to establish the applicability and validity of optical topography to forensic investigations and to produce publications or training materials that can be accessed by the entire forensic community and that will provide guidance to practitioners on applications and recommendations for further research, development, and capacity assistance. Primarily, the working group examined optical topography instruments, methods, data systems, and analysis from a practical perspective for ballistic and tool mark identification. [Read more and access the final report]

Organizing and Transferring SANE/SAFE/SART Knowledge and Best Practices  |  January-September 2014

The FTCoE coordinated a comprehensive Federal effort to organize and transfer knowledge and best practices of sexual assault nurse examiners, sexual assault forensic examiners, and collaborative sexual assault response teams (SANE/SAFE/SART). This FTCoE effort focused on systemic challenges that impede the investigation of criminal sexual assaults in the United States, with goals that include creating an awareness of resources and ensuring that existing research, information, knowledge, and best practices are available and accessible to SANE/SAFE/SART and other practitioners who contribute to the nation’s response to sexual assault. [Read more and access archived content]