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Just Drawing Knowledge from a Forensic Artist

In episode two of the Identification season, Just Science interviews Suzanne Birdwell, a forensic artist with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the current Chair of the IAI Forensic Art Science and Practice Committee. With over 700 cases in her career, Suzanne Birdwell understands the nuances of forensic artistry. Through a collaborative process, forensic artists create likenesses to aid in recognition and identification of a criminal, a decedent, or a missing person. Listen along as our guest discusses sketching from memory, facial reconstruction, age progression, and other aspects of forensic artistry.

This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].

Listen/Download at:
Listen on Google Play Music

 

You can also find us on Stitcher or Soundcloud 

 


IAI-Certified Texas Ranger Forensic Artist Suzanne Birdwell received degrees in Spanish and Criminal Justice with emphases in Forensic Psychology and Anthropology. Along with a range of art studies throughout her life, she has over 1000 hours in specific interviewing, forensic art, postmortem remains and missing/unidentified persons training. In her duties for the Texas Rangers, which is an investigative division of the Texas Department of Public Safety (TXDPS), Suzanne travels the state assisting local, county, state, military and federal agencies. She has developed hundreds of composite drawings of unknown criminals and persons-of-interest. She develops images appropriate for public viewing of unidentified deceased persons, often homicide victims, to further attempts at identification. Suzanne works in tandem with the state Missing & Unidentified Persons Clearinghouse and works closely with The University of North Texas Center for Human Identification. Suzanne has been with TXDPS since 2006, ultimately creating a secondary full-time forensic artist’s position for the Texas Rangers. Suzanne has testified to her work numerous times at criminal trials, being designated an Expert Witness in composite drawing and cognitive interviewing. Suzanne has served on the IAI Forensic Art Subcommittee since 2009, and is now its Chair.


Additional Resources:

2018 Impression, Pattern and Trace Evidence Symposium

IAI Training

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Just the Sole of Impression Pattern Evidence

The Identification season of Just Science will focus on many of the different aspects of identification in forensic investigations. A majority of these interviews were recorded at the 2018 International Forensic Educational Conference in San Antonio, Texas. This conference, held by the International Association for Identification, represents a diverse and knowledgeable membership that meets annually to educate and share techniques, methods, and research into the various forensic science disciplines. In episode one of the Identification season, Just Science interviews Lesley Hammer, former president of the International Association for Identification and the current Chair of the Education Committee of the IAI. Listen along as she discusses pattern and impression evidence collection and the future of IAI.

This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].

Listen/Download at:
Listen on Google Play Music

 

You can also find us on Stitcher or Soundcloud 

 


Ms. Hammer is a Forensic Scientist with experience in forensic casework, laboratory supervision and scientific instruction. She has performed analyses, reported and testified in latent print, footwear and tire track, controlled substance and crime scene disciplines and holds professional certifications in Forensic Footwear Examination, Criminalistics and Crime Scene Analysis. Ms Hammer supervised a Forensic Physical Unit in an ASCLD accredited laboratory, has published articles, performed research and has provided training to technicians, officers and other forensic scientists in the United States and Canada.


Additional Resources:

2018 Impression, Pattern and Trace Evidence Symposium

IAI Training

Footwear Impression Evidence: Detection, Recovery and Examination, SECOND EDITION

Bill Bodziak