Report Date

July 2020

Introduction

On February 27 and 28 of 2020, The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), in partnership with the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) at RTI International, convened the first meeting of the Terrestrial LiDAR Scanning (TLS) Working Group for Criminal Justice Applications. The TLS Working Group (TLSWG) will support the NIJ-FTCoE’s goals of improving the practice and strengthening the impact of forensic science through rigorous technology corroboration, evaluation, and best practices dissemination.

While the use of this technology is increasing in criminal justice applications, no standardized, vendor agnostic guidelines for use are currently available for end users. The goal of the working group is to develop resources that reflect consensus-based best practices to standardize and improve the use and application of TLS in crime scene documentation and reconstruction. These deliverables will help establish a minimum standard for capture, processing, analysis, visualization, presentation, and storage of TLS data in a forensic context. These resources are intended to promote uniform implementation and use of TLS technology in practice. This will ultimately improve the practitioners’ ability to attain scientifically supportable conclusions from TLS data, ensure effective quality management procedures, and improve presentation of this information to stakeholders, including law enforcement, investigators, and the courts (e.g. prosecutors and defense attorneys, judges, and juries).

Click here to read the full Report

Resources

 

A Landscape Study of 3D Crime Scene Scanning Devices

Read More

Webinar: Utility of 3D Scanning Technologies Workshop Archival

Read More

 

Report Date

May 2020

Introduction

Impressions of shoe and tire tracks are common types of evidence found at a crime scene that be used to evidentially link a suspect to a crime or generate important investigative leads in a case. However, analysis of these footwear outsole and tire tread designs is challenging due to the variations in product design, impression quality, and surrounding environment of the impressions. Proper collection of the evidence is often limited by the crime scene investigator’s skill level, the quality of the equipment, and the amount of time available to accurately photograph and cast the impressions. Dr. Song Zhang at Purdue University is developing a 3D imaging system for footwear and tire impressions to overcome these challenges. This system is based on an optical 3D scanning system that uses a binary defocusing technique and an auto-exposure control method to capture highly detailed images.

“Purdue’s 3D scanner promises to be a game changer as it allows the fast collection of the 3D detail of impressions with minimal training.”

—James Wolfe, Alaska State Crime Laboratory, retired

Click here to read the full Report

Resources

 

Webinar: Portable Advanced 3D Imaging for Footwear and Tire Impression Capture

Read More

Forensic Science Research and Development Technology Working Group

Read More

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 2008, the RTI Press has produced more than 100 publications.

Report Date

February 2019

Abstract

The 2019 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Forensic Science Research and Development (R&D) Symposium is intended to promote collaboration and enhance knowledge transfer of NIJ-funded research. The NIJ Forensic Science R&D Program funds both basic or applied R&D projects that will (1) increase the body of knowledge to guide and inform forensic science policy and practice or (2) result in the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods that have the potential for forensic application. The intent of this program is to direct the findings of basic scientific research; research and development in broader scientific fields applicable to forensic science; and ongoing forensic science research toward the development of highly discriminating, accurate, reliable, cost-effective, and rapid methods for the identification, analysis, and interpretation of physical evidence for criminal justice purposes.

Click here to read the full Report

NIJ’s FTCoE and Forensic Laboratory Needs Technology Working Group

 

Report Date

December 2019

Introduction

Recognizing the many challenges associated with adopting new technologies and other innovations in forensic science organizations, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) formed the Forensic Laboratory Needs Technology Working Group (FLN-TWG) in 2018. FLN-TWG provides a forum for which forensic practitioners and researchers can develop coordinated approaches to addressing technology implementation challenges for the forensic science community.

Housed at NIJ and supported by the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE), FLN-TWG membership is comprised of crime laboratory directors or managers and academic researchers who meet regularly to share ideas, assess the impact of new technologies on the criminal justice system, and identify paths forward for implementation. The group’s mandate encompasses the full range of needs facing federal, state, local, and tribal jurisdictions; FLN-TWG is designed to clear roadblocks that have prevented broad, successful adoption of promising technologies.

This in-brief provides a summary of FLN-TWG’s goals and outputs of the first meeting and provides a list of programs and resources that can promote technology adoption by crime laboratories.

“I’m very pleased to welcome the newly created working group members and grateful for their willingness to take part in this important endeavor. I look forward to hearing their valuable input and working together toward strengthening the relationship between the Justice Department and forensic science practitioners.”

              —David Muhlhausen, NIJ Director

Click here to read the full In-Brief

Resources

 

ARTICLE: NIJ Supporting Crime Lab Directors and the Formation of the Forensic
Laboratory Needs Technology Working Group, May 29, 2018

Read More

ARTICLE: NIJ Forensic Laboratory Needs Technology Working Group
— Opening a New Channel
to Improve Forensics, August 27, 2018

Read More

Department of Justice Priorities, Forensic Science Policies, and Grant Programs

Read More

NIJ and Cadre Forensics

Report Date

March 2019

Impact

“High-resolution 3D surface topographies coupled with advanced software analysis are providing firearm examiners unprecedented new tools for microsurface examination.” -Dr. Ryan Lilien, Chief Scientific Officer, Cadre Forensics

Click here to read the full report

Links

• Cadre’s TopMatch-3D system is profiled in the Landscape Study on Forensic Optical Topography, which also provides more information about the practice of optical topography for firearms analysis.

• Check out Cadre’s presentation at the 2018 Impression, Trace, and Pattern Evidence Symposium and “Just 3D Optical Topography” podcast.

• More information about the TopMatch-3D system and its latest offerings can be found on Cadre Forensic’s webpage.

Just Coroners Versus Medical Examiner Systems

In the second episode of our medicolegal death investigation special release season, Just Science interviews John Fudenberg, the Coroner for Clark County, Nevada. Listen along as Just Science explores commonalities and differences between the coroner and medical examiner systems to highlight pervading issues and possible improvements within the MDI community.

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 


John Fudenberg is the Coroner for The Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner (CCOCME) and has been with the office since 2003. Mr. Fudenberg brings twenty-five plus years of law enforcement and public service experience to the position, working in Anoka County MN and for the City of Las Vegas, in Las Vegas, Nevada prior to continuing his career with Clark County. John is a Diplomat with the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMDI). He is the past president of the International Association of Coroners & Medical Examiners (IAC&ME) Board of Directors, and is the Secretary of the IAC&ME. John is also a past commissioner of the National Commission on Forensic Science (NCFS). John serves on the National Institute of Standards & Technology Organization of Scientific Area Committee (NIST OSAC), as well as Chairman of the Las Vegas Trauma Intervention Program (TIP).


Additional Resources:

Coroner Versus Medical Examiner Systems: Can We End the Debate?

2018 IAC&ME TRAINING SYMPOSIUM

Report: 2018 Medicolegal Death Investigation Stakeholders’ Meeting

MDI & Pathology Resources 

Other Related Podcasts:

Just a Whole-Body CT Image Database

Just the State of Pathology

Just Being Vocal About Vicarious Trauma 

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 2008, the RTI Press has produced more than 100 publications.

Report Date

May 2018

Abstract

From January 22 to 25, 2018, RTI International, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) held the 2018 Impression, Pattern and Trace Evidence Symposium (IPTES) in Arlington, VA, to promote collaboration, enhance knowledge transfer, and share best practices and policies for the impression, pattern, and trace evidence forensic science communities.

NIJ and FTCoE are committed to improving the practice of forensic science and strengthening its impact through support of research and development, rigorous technology evaluation and adoption, effective knowledge transfer and education, and comprehensive dissemination of best practices and guidelines to agencies dedicated to combating crime. The future of forensic sciences and its contribution to the public and criminal justice community is a motivating topic to gather expertise in a forum to discuss, learn, and share ideas. It’s about becoming part of an essential and historic movement as the forensic sciences continue to advance. The IPTES was specifically designed to bring together practitioners and researchers to enhance information-sharing and promote collaboration among the impression, pattern, and trace evidence analysts, law enforcement, and legal communities.

The IPTES was designed to bring together practitioners and researchers to enhance information sharing and promote collaboration among impression, pattern, and trace evidence analysts, law enforcement, and legal communities. This set of proceedings comprises abstracts from workshops, general sessions, breakout sessions, and poster presentations.

Click here to read the full report

About the Editor

Nicole S. Jones, MS, is the associate director of strategic planning and operations in the Center for Forensic Sciences (CFS) at RTI International.

REPORT DATE

April 2018

REPORT SUMMARY

The Defense Forensic Science Center (DFSC) developed FRStat in response to criticisms from legal and scientific commentators on the lack of an empirically demonstrable basis to substantiate conclusions in pattern evidence. This tool is intended to provide a statistical estimate of the strength of evidence to be used in conjunction with the examiner’s own conclusion. This workshop covered basic statistical concepts, interpretation and reporting of FRStat results, limitations, considerations for use, and implementation suggestions.  Read the in-brief to learn more about this workshop.

READ FULL REPORT

Report Date

January 2018

Report Summary

The goal of this report is to provide the reader with a basic understanding of alternate light sources (ALS), as well as their use, benefits, and limitations. The information contained herein is derived from current literature and interviews with both users and technology developers, providing a thorough assessment of the considerations that will impact procurement, training, and use of ALS. This report also contains product tables highlighting the variety of ALS devices available for purchase.

Click here to read the full report

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 2008, the RTI Press has produced more than 100 publications.

Report Date

June 2017

Abstract

The 2017 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Forensic Science Research and Development (R&D) Symposium is intended to promote collaboration and enhance knowledge transfer of NIJ-funded research. The NIJ Forensic Science R&D Program funds both basic or applied R&D projects that will (1) increase the body of knowledge to guide and inform forensic science policy and practice or (2) result in the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods that have the potential for forensic application. The intent of this program is to direct the findings of basic scientific research; research and development in broader scientific fields applicable to forensic science; and ongoing forensic science research toward the development of highly discriminating, accurate, reliable, cost-effective, and rapid methods for the identification, analysis, and interpretation of physical evidence for criminal justice purposes.

Read Full Report

About the Authors

Nicole Suzanne McCleary, MS, is the associate director of strategic planning and operations in the Center for Forensic Sciences (CFS) at RTI International.

Gerald LaPorte, MSFS, is a supervisory physical scientist and director of the Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences at the National Institute of Justice.