Forensic Technology Center of Excellence

Laboratory Operations

View all Laboratory Operations resources below.

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Just Trauma-Informed Victim-centered Interviewing

In episode three of our Research and Considerations for Sexual Assault Cases season, Just Science sat down with Natasha Alexenko, Jordan Satinsky, and Marya Simmons to discuss trauma informed, victim-centered interviewing for sexual assault cases.    A sexual assault victim’s experiences with law enforcement and advocates…
United states with money

Federal Forensic Science Research and Development Programs – A 2021 Update

Publication Date Introduction In response to the 2009 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, the federal government accelerated its investment in forensic science in recent years. The NAS report advocated…
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ASCLD Train the Director Series – Best Practices for Engaging Participants in Video Conferences

This webinar originally occurred on July 7th, 2021 Duration: 1 hour In this webinar, attendees learned a variety of strategies to keep participants engaged in an online meeting environment. First, attendees learned about the importance of familiarizing themselves with settings…
A series of digital people

ASCLD Train the Director Series – Successful Onboarding in Crime Laboratories

This webinar originally occurred on June 16th, 2021 Duration: 1 hour Onboarding involves integrating a new employee into your organization. Also known as organizational socialization, onboarding is an important process that sometimes becomes an afterthought in the rush to start…
a firearm with the ASCLD logo

ASCLD Train the Director Series – Firearms 3D technology: Advantages and Value for Implementing 3D Technologies 

This webinar originally occurred on June 2nd, 2021 Duration: 1 hour This presentation demonstrated the effectiveness of integrating 3D technology into the forensic firearms/toolmarks discipline and the decision analysis used for selecting samples for virtual comparison.  In 2009, a report…
People in a laboratory

ASCLD Train the Director Series – Developing an Unbiased Culture in Your Laboratory

This webinar originally occurred on May 26th, 2021 Duration: 1 hour This webinar facilitated a discussion about bias in a crime laboratory. Questions discussed included: what is bias in forensics? How can it impact your operations? Why is it important?…

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

Report Publication Journal of Forensic Nursing, 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 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…
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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

← Back to Series  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…
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…

Preemptive Approach to Combatting and Characterizing Emerging Synthetic Opioids

This webinar originally occurred on Monday, February 8th, 2021 Duration: 1 hour This webinar described how preemptive synthesis and characterization of potent psychoactive substances from the literature can aid forensic scientists in the identification of unknowns appearing in samples emerging…
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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,…
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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…
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ASCLD Emerging Issues: Employee Wellness – Tackling Employee Wellness: The Phoenix Police Department’s Crime Lab Approach

← Back to Series  This webinar originally occurred on June 18th, 2020 Duration: 1.5 hours Organizations often struggle with building supportive organizational cultures, employee morale, and interpersonal relationships. The Phoenix Police Department (PPD) Crime Laboratory has implemented many strategies to…
gloved hand holding up small plastic bag containing white powder

ASCLD Emerging Issues: Employee Wellness – Drug Exposures in the Forensic Laboratory: What We Know, What We Can Learn

← Back to Series  This webinar originally occurred on June 25th, 2020 Duration: 1.5 hours The recent rise in the illicit trade of highly toxic, synthetic drugs such as fentanyl has introduced a new set of potential health hazards to…
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ASCLD Emerging Issues: Employee Wellness – Stress, Vicarious Trauma, and Resiliency for Forensic Science Professionals

← Back to Series  This webinar originally occurred on June 11th, 2020 Duration: 1.5 hours The phenomena of vicarious traumatization, compassion fatigue, and burnout have been described since the mid 1980’s, roughly coinciding with the growth in mental health treatments…
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Success Story: Revolutionizing Laboratory Efficiency Assessments Through Project FORESIGHT

NIJ and West Virginia University Report Date March 2020 Impact “Iron sharpens iron. Project FORESIGHT is built on collaboration among peers, and enhanced with academic and economic support-it provides actionable and realistic data to assess how well a lab is…
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

This webinar originally occurred on February 6th, 2020 Duration: 1.5 hours Legacy workflows in toxicology generally involve a drug class screen followed by a gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (GC/MS) and liquid chromatography mass spectroscopy (LC/MS-MS) confirmation analysis. Additional techniques could also…

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

This webinar originally occurred on January 23rd, 2020 Duration: 1.5 hours Investigative Genetic Genealogy is a recently developed technique that generates new leads on previously unsolved cases where DNA from the suspect is present at the crime scene. In situations…
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ASCLD Train the Director Series – Quality Assurance: Beyond Accreditation

This webinar originally occurred on January 9th, 2020 Duration: 1.5 hours Accreditation and quality assurance are two terms that are commonly used within the forensic science community. Many forensic laboratory mission statements incorporate the word quality in some capacity. Some…
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

This webinar originally occurred on December 3rd, 2019 Duration: 1 hour The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Early Warning Advisory (EWA) on new psychoactive substances (NPS) was launched in June 2013 as a response to the emergence…
a field of red flowers

Forensic Epidemiology: Monitoring Fatal Drug Overdose Trends

This webinar originally occurred on February 11th, 2020 Duration: 1 hour Given the vital role of medical examiners and coroners (ME/C) in recognizing emerging trends in drug overdose deaths, partnering epidemiologists with ME/C offices can greatly enhance the utility of…
five scientists having a discussion behind glass

Handling Difficult and Disturbing Forensic Cases for Coroners and Medical Examiners

This webinar originally occurred on October 17th, 2019 Duration: 1 hour There are over 2000 medical examiner and coroner offices throughout the United States. All are involved in determining the cause and manner of death and communicating this information to…

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…

ASCLD Train the Director Series – Quality Assurance in the Forensic Laboratory

This webinar originally occurred on February 21st, 2019 Duration: 1 hour This course explains transitioning from 17025:2005 to 17025:2017 and the lessons learned. This is the fifth webinar in the ASCLD Train the Director Webinar Series. Arizona Department of Public…

ASCLD Train the Director Series – NIBIN Challenges and Opportunities

This webinar originally occurred on January 24th, 2019 Duration: 1 hour This webinar will discuss the challenges and opportunities regarding the implementation of the NIBIN program. The NIBIN program has the potential to find links in cases involving firearms that…

ASCLD Train the Director Series – Digital Forensics: An Overview for the Laboratory Manager

This webinar originally occurred on January 31st, 2019 Duration: 1 hour This webinar will provide an overview of the field of digital forensics for the laboratory administrator. This is part of the ASCLD Train the Director Webinar Series. Digital forensics…

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

Overview 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

This webinar originally occurred on September 13th, 2018 Duration: 1.5 hours Vicarious trauma is an occupational challenge for forensic science professionals whose work entails continuous contact with victims of crime and violence, and the analysis of traumatic material. This webinar…

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,…