In this special release episode of Just Science, we sat down with Ashley Church and Erin West, founders of Gap Science, to discuss stress and resiliency in crime scene investigators.
Traumatic death investigation can have adverse, long-term effects on crime scene analysts. As Ashley Church and Erin West moved through their respective careers, they noticed a lack of training around protecting the psychological well-being of forensic scientists. Gap Science is working to fill this void in knowledge and address the challenges that investigators are experiencing every day. Listen along as our guests discuss compassion fatigue, the supervisor’s role in protecting their people, and the impact of violent crime scenes on forensic scientists in this episode of Just Science.
This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].
Erin West began her career in Forensics in 2006 as a Crime Scene Investigator for the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. In 2010, she became a Battlefield Forensics Instructor for the United States Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, where she was responsible for training military personnel how to use a variety of forensic disciplines to investigate crimes overseas. In 2012, she became a Supervisor, then a Deputy Program Manager for a Department of Justice Forensic Laboratory housed at American Systems, where she was responsible for training and supervising staff working in different forensic disciplines and at different levels of management. After leaving American Systems, she spent several years with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office in Florida working as a full time Latent Print Examiner. In 2019, she became the Forensic Supervisor over the Crime Scene Unit and DNA Laboratory at the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office and in 2020, she became the Latent Print Supervisor over the Latent Print Unit at the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office. Erin earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida in 2006 and a Master of Science degree in Forensic DNA and Serology with a graduate certificate in Forensic Toxicology from the University of Florida in 2012. Erin is a member of the International Association for Identification (IAI) and the Florida Division of the IAI and has been a presenter at the annual FDIAI Conference. She is an instructor for TriTech Forensics and the co-founder of Gap Science LLC, a company offering training and resources for leaders in the Forensic disciplines. She is an IAI Certified Crime Scene Analyst and an IAI Certified Latent Print Examiner.
Ashley Church has always had a passion for forensic science and chased her dream job as a crime scene investigator throughout high school and college. After completing a 400+ hour internship at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for her undergraduate degree requirements in 2011, she continued her education in entomology where she was hired as a graduate research assistant. In addition to studying the impact of a highly prolific invasive species within a quarantined laboratory setting, she was responsible for collaborating with specialists, organizing materials, and developing presentations for a series of workshops as well as recruiting, training, and supervising undergraduate laboratory assistants.Upon completing her education, Ashley began her career in 2013 as a Crime Scene Investigator for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Orlando, Florida. In addition to her duties as a Crime Scene Investigator, she was a field training officer responsible for training new crime scene investigators. In 2017, she became a Forensic Technician for the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office in Kissimmee, Florida. In 2018, she was promoted to Forensic Supervisor and was responsible for supervising members of the Forensic Unit and Pre-Screening DNA Laboratory as well as training staff in these forensic disciplines to full competency. Ashley earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Forensic Science with a Minor in Chemistry and a Certificate in Crime Scene Investigations from the University of Central Florida in 2011 and a Master of Science degree in Entomology from the University of Florida in 2013. She also became a Certified Crime Scene Analyst through the International Association for Identification (IAI) in 2019. Ashley is currently a training instructor for TriTech Forensics and the CSI Academy of Florida. She has also presented at educational conferences, such as the Florida Division IAI and the Entomological Society of America. She incorporates her passion for science with a modern, energetic instructing style in hopes to inspire other leaders in similar fields. She is the co-founder of Gap Science LLC, a company offering training and resources for leaders in the Forensic disciplines.
This week on Just Science, we are publishing a special release episode in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Social distancing, shelter in place, and other responses to COVID-19 can create a stressful environment for survivors of sexual assault especially if they feel they cannot access resources or are physically unable to seek help. In addition, highly stressful situations that result from significant amounts of change, such as unemployment, disruption in ‘normal’ activities, and social isolation may increase the risk of domestic violence and sexual assault. In this podcast, we will discuss what services are available to survivors of sexual assault, including leveraging on-line platforms and modified strategies for first responders, rape crisis centers, and victim advocates. We will also discuss how we as a friend, family member, and community can be prepared to respond to a victim of sexual assault in this challenging time.
In this episode Just Science interviews Ms. Marya Simmons, the Founder and CEO of Shift in Notion Consulting. Marya is a nationally recognized victim advocate and trainer with a specialty on the formation of multidisciplinary teams or sexual assault response teams and assisting agencies with developing policies and practices for improved responses to sexual assault. If you wish to contact Marya about additional resources or questions please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 to last year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month episode “Just the Evolution of Sexualt Assault Evidence Collection” with guest Dr. Pat Speck by clicking here.
If you or someone you know is need of emotional support, advice, or crisis intervention please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673), or visit, www.rainn.org, the rape, abuse and incest national network, for advocacy support online.
Marya L. Simmons is the Founder and CEO of Shift in Notion Consulting, LLC, where she provides technical assistance, strategic planning consultation, and training to diverse audiences and communities on sexual assault, trauma-responsive and victim-centered best-practice approaches, domestic violence, victim advocacy, strengthening multi-disciplinary teams, life-skills and self-sufficiency, boosting leadership and supervision skills and techniques, and supporting families of homicide victims.
Ms. Simmons is a consultant with RTI International as a subject matter expert in victim advocacy and a consultant with the State Medical Board of Ohio as a Victim Coordinator. Marya also serves as a Program Facilitator for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio where she oversees programming to elevate and promote confidence, self-sufficiency, inspire high self-esteem, influence respect and integrity amongst girls ages 5-17.
Ms. Simmons is an international and national presenter, has two degrees in criminal justice with honors, she is currently enrolled in the Criminal Justice Administration Master’s Degree Program at Tiffin University, and she is also a member of Tiffin University’s Chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society. Previously, Ms. Simmons was the Victim-Witness Unit Supervisor at the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, and in this role she supported victims and witnesses throughout the judicial system process. Prior to joining the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, she was a Justice System Advocate for victims of sexual assault at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center where she supported survivors of sexual assault in that role. Marya is adept to working with diverse populations, providing crisis intervention, and supporting women diagnosed with chemical/alcohol dependency and mental health illnesses.
Ms. Simmons is a Registered Advocate with Senior Standing with the state of Ohio, serves on the Executive Committee for the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Response Team and the Leadership Committee for the Women of Color Caucus, actively supported victims associated with Cuyahoga County’s CODIS Task Force (Untested Rape Kit Initiative) since 2013, and Ms. Simmons also received the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office’s 2016 award for Distinguished Contributions to Victim Advocacy.
WEBINAR: Surviving Sexual Assault – It Takes A Village
Over the last few years, the National Institute of Justice has placed an increasingly large emphasis on the influence of work-related stress on mental health. In this special release episode, Just Science interviews Amy Jeanguenat and Andrew Levin, two experts in the field of workforce resiliency, about the impact of vicarious trauma on forensic scientists, analysts, and first responders.
The impact that stress has on a person’s mind and body can be dramatic, but the effects are amplified when the stressors involve violent, graphic, or traumatic material. Amy Jeanguenat and Andrew Levin are working to provide support to those affected by this vicarious trauma, with an emphasis on forensic scientists and first responders. Listen along as they discuss stress, mindfulness, and the future of resiliency in this episode of Just Science.
This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].
Amy Jeanguenat has spent her career working in the private forensic industry supporting efforts world-wide to prevent and eliminate DNA backlogs, refine operational logistics, and provide quality and technical system support. As a former laboratory director and technical leader, her leadership and management approaches constantly evolved in response to the demands of running a high-throughput laboratory. Workplace stress and its effect on productivity, turnover rate, and quality became a key focus of her research interests. In 2016, she launched Mindgen, LLC merging her interests in developing best practices for forensic science with the effects of mindfulness on human performance. Amy has completed training in mindfulness-based stress reduction and is a certified teacher of ancient wisdom, yoga, mindfulness, and meditation. She is applying these techniques to bring mindfulness-based techniques to forensic science to help improve decision making and the quality of work & life.
Dr. Andrew Levin is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he received residency training and completed an NIMH fellowship at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Department of Psychiatry Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. After fellowship, Dr. Levin directed the Behavioral Disorders Unit at Holliswood Hospital in Queens, the first of its kind in the New York area providing specialized cognitive behavioral treatment to survivors of childhood trauma, rape, and domestic violence suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder and dissociative disorders. Drawing on this unique expertise, Dr. Levin has consulted to the New York State Office of Mental Health, evaluating complex patients at civil and forensic facilities across the state. He currently holds the rank of Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University.
From 1995 to 2001, Dr. Levin directed the largest outpatient mental health service in Westchester County at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Harrison, NY. He then served until 2016 as Medical Director at Westchester Jewish Community Services, the largest and oldest social services agency in Westchester. In this role, he provided supervision and consultation to social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists and developed innovative delivery systems. Currently, he consults to the ECHO project enhancing the delivery of behavioral health in primary care, provides forensic consultation, maintains a practice focused on mood disorders and trauma, and teaches residents and forensic fellows at Columbia University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. As a member of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, Dr. Levin chairs the Trauma and Stress Committee. Publications have included work on personality, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, dissociative disorders, sexual harassment, and the impact of DSM-5 on forensic practice. Dr. Levin has directed and authored unique studies of vicarious trauma in legal professionals. He regularly lectures judges, attorneys, and mental health professionals on identification and coping with vicarious trauma and stress.
Just the Census of Medical Examiners and Coroners
In this special release episode, Just Science interviews Dr. Hope Smiley-McDonald and Connor Brooks about the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Census of Medical Examiners and Coroners.
The last Census of Medical Examiners and Coroners was conducted in 2004 and stands as one of the most important resources for budget makers and policy changers. Since then, the realm of MDI has changed dramatically. With that in mind, BJS and RTI International are working tirelessly to create a useful tool that captures all the nuances of this field. Listen in as our guests discuss the development of the survey, the types of data being collected, and the impact that the survey will have on the MDI community.
Please visit www.bjscmec.org for more information
Connor Brooks is a program manager at the Bureau of Justice Statistics at the U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Brooks manages the Census of Medical Examiner and Coroner Offices, the Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories, and the Firearm Inquiry Statistics programs, and he also serves on the federal Medicolegal Death Investigation Working Group. Prior to working at BJS, he was the crime analyst for the Burlington Police Department in Burlington, Vermont.
Hope Smiley-McDonald is the Director for the Investigative Sciences Program at RTI International. A sociologist with expertise in criminology, she has published in the areas of drug surveillance systems, substance use and abuse, drug courts, HIV risk behaviors, employment, health and mental health, and community corrections populations. She is the project director for the Bureau of Justice Statistics-funded 2018 Census of Medical Examiners and Coroners Offices.
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Just the Evolution of Sexual Assault Evidence Collection
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a campaign designed to raise awareness about sexual violence and provide methods to prevent it. In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Just Science interviewed Dr. Pat Speck, a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and professor at the University of Alabama – Birmingham School of Nursing, about sexual assault testing and victim-centered care.
Sexual assault evidence collection has changed dramatically over the years. From the original test tubes and cotton stoppers to the advanced sexual assault kits in use today, advancements in science have fundamentally altered the process of testing for sexual assault. Listen in as Dr. Speck discusses her research, the importance of trauma-informed care, and evolution of sexual assault evidence collection in this episode of Just Science.
Some content in this podcast may be considered sensitive and may evoke emotional responses, or may not be appropriate for younger audiences.
Dr. Patricia M. Speck graduated from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Nursing in 1982 (BSN), 1985 (MSN), and 2005 (DNSc). After retiring from UTHSC College of Nursing as the DNP Public Health Nursing and DNP Forensic Nursing Concentration Coordinator, she joined the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing (SON) in the Department of Community Health, Outcomes, and Systems. Currently Dr. Speck is a Professor and Coordinator of the graduate Advanced Forensic Nursing program of study. She experiences international recognition as a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and expert in advanced forensic nursing care of patients experiencing an intersection with the legal system. She consults with the Department of Justice as a subject matter expert in forensic nursing and evidence, with universities desiring forensic nursing curriculum, nursing specialty organizations desiring Consensus and curriculum in forensic nursing, and internationally in Africa, Eurasia, the Caribbean, and Central, South and North America with governments, universities, institutions, and Non-Governmental Organizations to evaluate and implement infrastructure change in a coordinated community response to victims of violence. As a family nurse practitioner – forensic nursing practice expert, she has seen or supervised the care of over 15,000 acutely victimized persons. She researches, develops policy, evaluates programs, and builds nursing workforce capacity through publication, education, and violence prevention initiatives that raise awareness about trauma and health. She partners with forensic laboratory experts to collect samples for research about extended post coital intervals and produced evidence in 2015 and again in 2019 to expand timing for DNA detection with enhanced methods in reproductive aged minority and non-minority women, with global implications. She is actively involved in national policy as a member of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) Global Health Expert Panel and the Violence Expert Panel. She was President of the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) (2003-2004), Chair, American Public Health Association’s Family Violence Prevention Forum/Caucus (2011-2013) and is a current Academy of Forensic Nursing (AFN) and Forensic Nursing Certification Board (FNCB) member. She teaches the next generation of forensic nurses at UAB SON and through an AFN Journal Club. Her awards include: Fellow American Academy of Forensic Sciences (2008), Distinguished Fellow, IAFN (2001), Distinguished Fellow, AFN (2018), and Fellow, AAN (2002). She is the recipient of over 25 awards and received the Lifetime Professional Impact Award from End Violence Against Women International in 2017.
Just Gunshot Acoustics Research
In this special release episode of the 2017 NIJ R&D Symposium, Just Science interviews Dr. Rob Maher.
Below is the abstract submitted where Dr. Rob Maher explains his research:
Gunshot acoustics–interpretation of the characteristic sounds produced by firearms recorded at a crime scene–is a specialization within the audio forensics field. Audio forensic evidence is increasingly common in law enforcement investigations because of the growing availability of inexpensive and lightweight digital voice recorders and miniature personal digital video camera systems for routine law enforcement and surveillance use. An increasing number of cases involving gunshot sounds are being captured in these audio recordings. The acoustical characteristics of a firearm depend upon the type of gun and ammunition, the distance and azimuth with respect to the gun barrel, and the acoustical reflections and reverberation due to nearby surfaces and objects. For scientific study it is necessary to separate the direct sound of the muzzle blast from the acoustic reflections, echoes, and reverberation that depend upon the recording environment. We use an elevated array of twelve specialized microphones capable of capturing the high intensity and short duration of the firearm’s muzzle blast concurrently over 180 degrees in azimuth. Each microphone is recorded with 16-bit resolution at a 500 kHz sampling rate, and the elevated platform allows the entire muzzle blast to be recorded before the arrival of the first acoustical reflection from the ground. This presentation includes a description of the firearm recording technique, the characteristics observed from these scientific recordings, recommendations on the use and processing of our database of firearm acoustical recordings, and a discussion of future prospects for forensic gunshot acoustical analysis.
Dr. Rob Maher joined the Montana State ECE faculty in August, 2002. He holds a BS degree from Washington University in St. Louis, an MS degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois-Urbana, all in Electrical Engineering. His research and teaching interests are in the area of digital signal processing, with particular emphasis on applications in digital audio, audio forensic analysis, digital music synthesis, and acoustics. Dr. Maher became ECE Department Head on August 1, 2007, and served in that role for ten years.
Dr. Maher was a faculty member with the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, from 1989-1996 (tenured in 1995). He joined EuPhonics, Inc., of Boulder, Colorado, in 1997, and was named Vice President of Engineering. When EuPhonics was subsequently acquired by 3Com Corporation in November, 1998, Dr. Maher remained with 3Com-U.S. Robotics as Engineering Manager for Audio Product Development until July, 2001. He also started a successful audio software engineering consulting company (2000-present), and he has been an Adjunct Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering with the University of Colorado-Boulder (2001-2002). Read More on Dr. Maher’s Montana University Faculty Page.
Just Postmortem Interval Estimation Research
In this special release episode of the 2017 NIJ R&D Symposium, Just Science interviews Dr. Jeffrey Wells and Dr. Lynn LaMotte.
This is the abstract submitted where Dr. LaMotte and Dr. Wells explain their research:
To our knowledge an estimate of time since death is almost never accompanied by the kind of mathematically explicit probability statement that is the standard in most scientific disciplines. This has been a problem both for death investigation casework (and court testimony) and for research, because scientists have not known how to design decomposition experiments to provide adequate statistical power for postmortem interval (PMI) estimation. We have been developing methods for calculating statistical confidence limits about a PMI estimate based on either continuous quantitative or categorical data. The examples we present are from forensic entomology, but the approach is suitable for any postmortem variable. To do this we extended and adapted the time-tested statistical method of inverse prediction (IP, also called calibration) to the PMI estimation setting. Methods to produce valid p-values for this process are known for single, quantitative y and x that follow a linear regression relation and with y having constant variance. Some exist for multivariate y, but only for settings where y has constant variance. Many measurements used for PMI estimation do not fit these criteria. The current project builds on earlier work in which we developed IP methods for non-constant variance of a single, quantitative y (e.g. estimating carrion maggot age using a single size measurement, Wells and LaMotte 1995), and in which we developed the first ever method for IP based on categorical data (e.g. estimating PMI based on carrion insect succession, LaMotte and Wells 2000). One possible barrier to the adoption of these new inverse prediction methods by researchers and death investigators has been that they are not implemented in statistical software packages. In this presentation we will show how IP using categorical data can be done by simply reading a table. Concerning quantitative data we will show how inverse prediction of PMI can be performed using statistical analysis software already widely available for general linear mixed models, where the statistical theory and methodology are well-established. We will show how flexible models using polynomial splines can be fit for both the means and variance-covariance matrices, and how to use dummy variables over a grid of values of x to get the p-values required for confidence sets automatically. Attendees familiar with mixed models and their applications will be able to implement these methods in standard statistical packages.
Statistical Methods for Combining Multivariate and Categorical Data in Postmortem Interval Estimation
Lynn R. LaMotte,1 and Jeffrey D. Wells2 1Biostatistics Program, LSU School of Public Health
Lynn Roy LaMotte, Ph.D., is Professor of Biostatistics at LSU Health – New Orleans. He has collaborated with Jeffrey Wells, Ph.D., for twenty-five years, striving to address the statistical questions and problems that arise in time-since-death investigations. This has entailed adapting extant statistical methodology and developing new theory and methods, resulting in novel contributions for statistical inference in models for both continuous multivariate responses (like length and weight) and discrete multi-category responses, such as development stage.
Jeffrey Wells is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida International University, where he is also affiliated with FIU’s International Forensic Research Institute. He has been active in death investigation casework and research since the late 1980s, and during almost all of that time he collaborated with Lynn LaMotte on the development of statistical methods for estimating time since death. However, he is an expert on carrion insects and forensic molecular biology and not a statistician. Instead his role has been to direct Dr. LaMotte to the important statistical research questions, and then to interpret the results for the broader forensic science community. View Dr. Wells’ Research Gate Site.
Just Bath Salts
In this special release episode of the 2017 NIJ R&D Symposium, Just Science interviews Lindsay Glicksberg, a student from Sam Houston State University.
This is an excerpt from the abstract submitted by the guest, Lindsay Glicksberg explaining the research discussed in this episode:
The ongoing proliferation of designer drugs present a variety of public health and safety concerns. Synthetic cathinones are capable of producing a variety of psychostimulant effects. According to the National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS), their use has escalated. Forensic laboratories must be able to identify these new drugs as part of antemortem and postmortem toxicology investigations. Due to limitations in immunoassay-based screening technologies, many forensic toxicology laboratories must rely on chromatographic-based screening approaches in order to detect these drugs in biological evidence. The detection of drugs is heavily dependent upon the stability of the drug in biological matrices, information that is relatively limited for synthetic cathinones. This research presents a validated method for the quantification of twenty- two synthetic cathinones in urine and blood using liquid chromatography/quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry (LC/Q-TOF-MS). The validated method was used to systematically evaluate the stability of synthetic cathinones in blood and urine over a six-month period. Drug stability was assessed in terms of pH, temperature, matrix, concentration-dependence and chemical properties.
Abstract Title: Stability of Synthetic Cathinones in Biological Evidence
Award #: 2013-R2-CX-K006
Forensic Discipline: Toxicology
Authors: Lindsay Glicksberg, BS*, Sarah Kerrigan, PhD
Lindsay Glicksberg, a PhD Candidate from Sam Houston State University. To learn more about Glicksberg please visit Sam Houston State Blog.
Just One Pot Methamphetamine
In this special release episode of the 2017 NIJ R&D Symposium, Just Science interviews Dr. Jarrad Wagner from Oklahoma State University.
This is the abstract submitted by the guest where he explains the research him and his team are conducting:
The One Pot methamphetamine production method has become the primary method of choice in clandestine drug laboratories across the United States, due to its simplicity and the availability of required materials. While the method is simple, it also generates risk to innocent bystanders within the community from flammability and toxicity hazards. This study was undertaken to determine the feasibility of the detection of methamphetamine clandestine laboratories through monitoring waste water effluents. Methamphetamine was produced by the One Pot method and the methamphetamine hydrochloride product was filtered out. The remaining materials were deposited into a local waste water system in a controlled setting to simulate the disposal of unwanted production products. Water samples were collected post-distribution to determine a time course and analyzed via solid phase extraction with liquid chromatograph-tandem mass spectrometry. Methamphetamine, pseudoephedrine, and ephedrine were all detectable in the waste water. Also, an over-reduced product characteristic of the One Pot synthesis, CMP [1-(1′,4′-Cyclohexadienyl)-2-methyl-aminopropane] was detected. This work demonstrates the possibility and potential for analyzing waste water to monitor and detect clandestine One Pot methamphetamine laboratories within a community.
One Pot Methamphetamine Effluent Characterization Authors: Jarrad Wagner*^, Matthew Green*, Austin Ciesielski*, David Pretorius** Affiliations: *Oklahoma State University CHS, Forensic Toxicology and Trace Laboratory ** U.S. Department of Energy, Savannah River National Laboratory ^Presenter
Dr. Jarrad Wagner is a Professor of Forensic Sciences at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences (OSU CHS), where he specializes in research and instruction in Forensic Toxicology and Trace Analytical Chemistry, including post-blast investigations and clandestine laboratories. He is also the Director of the Forensic Toxicology and Trace Laboratory (FTTL) at OSU CHS, where his principal focus is working with triple quadrupole LC/MS/MS instruments and supporting forensic and clinical laboratories in method development, validation and training.
Professor Wagner formerly served as a Chemist in the Hazardous Materials Response Unit of the FBI Laboratory, where he specialized in crime scene investigations involving hazardous materials throughout the world. Prior to the FBI, his law enforcement experience includes his time as a Forensic Scientist in the Toxicology section of the Orange County (CA) Sheriff-Coroner’s office and his service as a Reserve Police Officer in the City of Irvine, CA. Dr. Wagner earned a Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology from the University of California at Irvine and undergraduate degrees in Biology and Chemistry.