Forensic Technology Center of Excellence

Laboratory Operations

Evidence Collection and Analysis for Touch Deoxyribonucleic Acid in Groping and Sexual Assault Cases

Report Date April 2021 Introduction Historically, evidence collection in sexual assault cases focused on obtaining foreign contributor bodily fluids through swab collection. With improvements in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analysis methods, DNA profiles can be developed from touch DNA and applied to sexual…
DNA strands

Perspectives on Addressing the Collection, Tracking, and Processing of Lawfully Owed DNA Samples

Report Date April 2021 Introduction The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) is a powerful tool that supports the criminal justice system by generating investigative leads, identifying perpetrators, and linking cases together. DNA profiles obtained from…
three xray scans

Post-Mortem Computed Tomography Webinar Series

Post-mortem computed tomography (PMCT) is a valuable tool for medicolegal death investigation.  PMCT examination may be used to supplement traditional autopsy or anthropological examinations. Further, PMCT combined with external examination may be used as an alternative to full autopsy for…
microphone and headphones

Just the DEA National Forensic Laboratory Information System

In episode eight, Just Science interviews DeMia Pressley from the DEA’s Diversion Control Division to discuss the importance of information sharing across law enforcement and public health agencies through forensic partnerships.  The National Forensic Laboratory Information System, otherwise known as NFLIS, is a…
Bloodstain pattern and a ruler

Lessons Learned from Proficiency Test Results in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

This webinar originally occurred on April 15th, 2021 Duration: 1 hour The Daubert ruling by the Supreme Court established “the known or potential rate of error” as one of several factors to be used when assessing the scientific reliability or…
constellations over glass lab equipment

Forensic Laboratory Needs Technical Working Group

Supporting NIJ’s Mission to Improve Knowledge and Understanding The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), in partnership with the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) at RTI International (Research Triangle Institute), has formed the Forensic Laboratory Needs – Technology Working Group…
Scientist working from home

ASCLD Emerging Issues: COVID-19 – Remote Work in the Forensic Lab

This webinar originally occurred on March 17th, 2021 Duration: 1 hour The COVID-19 pandemic has had an immeasurable impact on workplaces around the world. Organizations have had to rapidly implement operational changes in order to ensure the safety of workers…

Stability and Persistence of Touch DNA for Forensic Analysis

Touch DNA evidence (i.e. the low quantities of DNA that can be left behind when someone touches an object) is of increasing importance in criminal investigations. However, many important questions exist regarding basic properties of touch DNA, including the expected…
Person holding vile

Leveraging Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) to Maintain Continuity of Operations: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Report Date Published January 2021 Introduction In response to 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic, forensic crime laboratories have changed their business operations to ensure responsiveness to their customers’ needs while protecting staff welfare and data security. This balance has challenged laboratory management…
microphone and headphones

Just Off The Shelf Forensics

In the final episode of the Case Studies season, Just Science sat down with Tim Schade and Brian Cochran to discuss off-the-shelf crime scene processing products.  Budgetary concerns often plague smaller forensic labs and law enforcement agencies. Scene investigators might realize that some of those expensive forensic tools might not be viable or…

Trauma and Coping Mechanisms Exhibited by Forensic Science Practitioners: A Literature Review

Report Date Forensic Science International: Synergy, Volume 2, 2020, Pages 310-316 Abstract Vicarious trauma (VT) has been studied in mental health experts for over 30 years due to their engagement with victims of trauma and exposure to details of events,…
microphone and headphones

Just the Impact of Disturbing Media

In episode eight, Just Science interviews Dr. Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar from Purdue University about the impact of disturbing media on forensic professionals. Repeated exposure to violent and graphic media can have long-term negative effects on digital forensic examiners. Dr. Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar is researching the connection between disturbing media and the examiners who analyze it every…
image of DNA

PACE™: Rapid and Automated Artifact Identification and Number of Contributor Prediction

– Tuesday, July 28th, 2020 1:00:00 PM ET – 2:00:00 PM ETDuration: 1 hour(s) The PACE™ software introduces a fully continuous, machine learning tool to the forensic DNA community that enables fast and accurate artifact management and predicts the number…
hands holding up sign that reads Employee Wellness

Tackling Employee Wellness: The Phoenix Police Department’s Crime Lab Approach

– ← Back to Series  Thursday, June 18th, 2020 1:00:00 PM ET – 2:30:00 PM ET Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes Organizations often struggle with building supportive organizational cultures, employee morale, and interpersonal relationships. The Phoenix Police Department (PPD)…
Skyline view of Phoenix, AZ

Stress, Vicarious Trauma, and Resiliency for Forensic Science Professionals

– ← Back to Series  Thursday, June 11th, 2020 1:00:00 PM ET – 2:30:00 PM ET Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes The phenomena of vicarious traumatization, compassion fatigue, and burnout have been described since the mid 1980’s, roughly coinciding…
Data points

National Institute of Justice and West Virginia University: Revolutionizing Laboratory Efficiency Assessments Through Project FORESIGHT

Report Date March 2020 Introduction Crime laboratories are expected to provide consistent and high-quality services across multiple domains to criminal justice stakeholders, even though these laboratories may have limited resources and constrained budgets. Operational practices can influence the laboratory’s ability…
dried marijuana plants/ two scientists examining living marijuana plants/ glass test tubes in a machine

The Sequel – Marijuana or Hemp: From Farm Bill to Forensic Analysis

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020 1:00:00 PM ET – 2:00:00 PM ET Duration: 2 hour(s) Due to the overwhelming attendance and interaction for the first Marijuana or Hemp: From Farm Bill to Forensic Analysis webinar that was originally held on January 15th 2020,…

The hidden costs of the opioid crisis and the implications for financial management in the public sector

Jeri Ropero-Miller and Paul Speaker   Report Date Volume 1, 2019, Pages 227-238 Abstract The November 2017 release of the Council of Economic Advisers’ White House report on the opioid crisis suggests that prior consideration of expenses severely underestimated the…

Just the NIJ Needs Assessment of Forensic Laboratories and Medical Examiner/Coroner Offices

<<< back to all episodes In episode one of the Improving the System season, Just Science interviews Dr. Jonathan McGrath, Senior Policy Analyst in the Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences at the National Institute of Justice, about the recently published…
A clean laboratory full of glass equipment

ASCLD Train the Director Series – Toxicology: Instrumentation, Methodology, and Workflows

← Back to Series  Thursday, February 6th, 2020 1:00:00 PM ET – 2:30:00 PM ET Duration: 1.5 hour(s) Legacy workflows in toxicology generally involve a drug class screen followed by a gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (GC/MS) and liquid chromatography mass spectroscopy…

2019 National Institute of Justice Forensic Science Research and Development Symposium

This report was published in RTI Press, a global publisher of peer-reviewed, open-access publications on a broad range of topics. The areas of focus reflect RTI’s multidisciplinary research, our expertise in social and laboratory sciences, and our extensive international activities. Since…
virtual depiction of DNA strands

ASCLD Train the Director Series – Investigative Genetic Genealogy: Background and Crime Lab Strategy

← Back to Series  Thursday, January 23rd, 2020 1:00:00 PM ET – 2:30:00 PM ET Duration: 1.5 hour(s) Investigative Genetic Genealogy is a recently developed technique that generates new leads on previously unsolved cases where DNA from the suspect is…
Person typing on a laptop

ASCLD Train the Director Series – Quality Assurance: Beyond Accreditation

← Back to Series  Thursday, January 9th, 2020 1:00:00 PM ET – 2:30:00 PM ET Duration: 1.5 hour(s) Accreditation and quality assurance are two terms that are commonly used within the forensic science community. Many forensic laboratory mission statements incorporate…
Blood spatter on a white wall

Communicating Conclusions in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019 1:00:00 PM ET – 2:30:00 PM ET Duration: 1.5 hour(s) The results of a bloodstain pattern analysis are communicated through written reports and courtroom testimony.  Principles of communication science will be discussed and explained to develop…
Custom graphics with the words Global Monitoring/ Substance Identification, Trend Analysis, Toxicology Portal, Risk Communication, Prioritization for International Action, and National Legislative Responses

UNODC Early Warning Alert System: Forensic Tools for New Psychoactive Substances

← Back to Series  Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019 1:00:00 PM ET – 2:00:00 PM ET Duration: 1 hour(s) The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Early Warning Advisory (EWA) on new psychoactive substances (NPS) was launched in June…
five scientists having a discussion behind glass

Handling Difficult and Disturbing Forensic Cases for Coroners and Medical Examiners

← Back to Series  Thursday, October 17th, 2019 1:00:00 PM ET – 2:00:00 PM ET Duration: 1 hour(s) There are over 2000 medical examiner and coroner offices throughout the United States. All are involved in determining the cause and manner…

Special Release: Just the Census of Medical Examiners and Coroners

<<< back to all podcasts 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…

Process and Outcome Evaluation of Forensic DNA Unit Efficiency Improvement Program

Technical Note Date November 2018 Description A 2009 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Forensic DNA Unit Efficiency Improvement (EIP) Program solicitation provided crime laboratories’ DNA testing services with a funding opportunity to meet the increasingly numerous requests from the criminal…

A Landscape Study of SOPs to Collect and Process Arrestee and Convicted Offender DNA Samples

Report Date This study is currently being conducted. The project team presented a poster on preliminary findings and next steps at the International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI) in Phoenix, Arizona on September 24-27, 2018. Description The Forensic Technology Center…

Forensic Workforce Resiliency: Vicarious Trauma & Workplace Stress Webinar Series

Description Professionals throughout the criminal justice system are exposed to the aftermath of violent crime and its victims. These individuals may include forensic nurses, crime scene investigators, forensic practitioners, medicolegal death investigators, and other professionals in related fields. Research has…

The Vicarious Trauma Toolkit – an Evidence-informed Resource for Organizations

← Back to Series  Thursday, September 13, 2018 1:00:00 PM EDT – 2:30:00 PM EDT Duration: 1.5 hour(s) Vicarious trauma is an occupational challenge for forensic science professionals whose work entails continuous contact with victims of crime and violence, and…

Success Story: NIST’s Dogs and Sensor Subcommittee Builds on Achievements by SWGDOG

NIJ and Florida International University Report Date April 2018 Impact “SWGDOG set the stage and provided a strong foundation of canine detector best practices that the OSAC Dogs and Sensor Subcommittee is currently developing into scientifically robust standards. The Subcommittee…

Just Budgets

Just Budgets In the sixth episode of Just Science, funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence , guest speaker Dr. Paul Speaker discusses the FORESIGHT program. Dr. Speaker,  an Associate Professor at West Virginia University, will describe how The FORESIGHT program helps…

In-Brief: Applying Internal Validation Guidelines for Expanded STR Loci Kits

Report Date January 2017 Report Summary The familiar ‘13 Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) core loci’ expanded to ‘20 CODIS core loci’ as mandated by the FBI on January 1, 2017. Because of this FBI mandate, participating CODIS laboratories will need…

Just Human Factors

Just Human Factors In episode two, funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence , Dr. Tom Busey explores the importance of human factors as it relates to fingerprint analysis and interpretation. He, along with RTI International resident fingerprint expert, co-host Heidi Eldridge,…