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 justice community. The purpose of the 2009 EIP was to encourage crime laboratories to implement novel ideas and processes that would provide a measurable, significant, and sustainable way to meet the needs of national DNA programs. This article focuses on the final outcomes of an award received by the Palm Beach County Sherriff’s Office (PBSO). The NIJ support of an approved and implemented plan involving interagency cooperation between three jurisdictional law enforcement agencies (LEAs) within Palm Beach County has resulted in the successful and efficient establishment of a centralized biological pre-screening laboratory (BPL) for DNA evidence prior to submission to the county’s forensic laboratory for DNA testing.

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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

September 2017

Abstract

On May 10–11, 2016, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI; Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice of the Netherlands), the International Society for Forensic Radiology and Imaging (ISFRI), the International Association of Forensic Radiographers (IAFR), and NIJ’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) at RTI International organized and convened the International Forensic Radiology Research Summit (IFRRS) at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam. The summit assembled 40 international subject matter experts in forensic radiology, to include researchers, practitioners, government employees, and professional staff from 14 countries. The goal of this 2-day summit was to identify gaps, challenges, and research needs to produce a road map to success regarding the state of forensic radiology, including formulating a plan to address the obstacles to implementation of advanced imaging technologies in medicolegal investigations. These proceedings summarize the meeting’s important exchange of technical and operational information, ideas, and solutions for the community and other stakeholders of forensic radiology.

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About the Editors

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

Jeri Ropero-Miller, PhD, is a principal investigator (PI) and Senior Research Forensic Scientist in the Center for Forensic Sciences (CFS) at RTI International.

Report Date

September 2018

Report Summary

On February 5–6, 2018, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research and evaluation agency of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), convened a diverse group of stakeholders from across the United States to gather information on strengthening medicolegal death investigations (MDI) nationally. This meeting sought to (1) begin a formal dialogue and engage with the MDI community to better understand how NIJ can assist with high-priority needs, (2) identify solutions to help with challenges encountered by MDI stakeholders, and (3) inform NIJ’s programs and initiatives based on the needs of the MDI community. This report provides an overview of the meeting, its objectives, and topics discussed, including NIJ’s programs to address the community’s needs, NIJ’s program to fund R&D in forensic science, and the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

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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.

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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.

 

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

July 2016


Report Summary

The 2016 NIJ Research and Development Symposium is intended to promote collaboration and enhance knowledge transfer of NIJ-funded research. The NIJ Research and Development (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. NIJ and the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence are committed to improving the practice of forensic science and strengthening its impact through support of R&D, rigorous technology evaluation and adoption, effective knowledge transfer and education, and comprehensive dissemination of best practices and guidelines to agencies dedicated to combating crime.

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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.

 

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

December 2015


Report Summary

RTI International, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) present the proceedings from the 2015 Impression, Pattern, and Trace Evidence Symposium (IPTES). The IPTES was held August 25–27 in San Antonio, Texas, as the first joint symposium to promote collaboration, enhance knowledge transfer, and share best practices and policies for the impression, pattern, and trace evidence forensic science communities. This symposium convened practitioners and researchers to promote information-sharing and collaboration among the law enforcement, legal, and impression, pattern, and trace evidence communities. During this 3-day event, leading experts in their respective fields presented to an audience of nearly 600 attendees. The presentations focused on topics that included the latest developments and novel approaches to fingerprint, shoeprint, and tire tread evidence; questioned documents; bloodstain pattern analysis; biometrics; firearms/toolmarks; digital photography; and fibers, paint, tape, and other types of evidence as well as addressing error rates, testimony, interpretation/reporting, case studies, and technology applications. The proceedings include author information, abstracts, keywords, and type of presentation.

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About the Editors

 

Jeri Ropero-Miller, PhD, is a principal investigator (PI) and Senior Research Forensic Scientist in RTI International’s Center for Forensic Sciences. She is a board-certified forensic toxicologist with Fellow status on the American Board of Forensic Toxicology (F-ABFT). She has more than 20 years of experience conducting research, training, technology transfer, and evaluations in forensic science and criminal justice.

Crystal M. Daye, MPA, is a Research Associate in RTI’s Center for Justice, Safety and Resilience. Through the Center’s Policing, Security, and Investigative Science Program, she’s worked on a number of projects focused on emerging topics in law enforcement strategies and operations and forensics.

Heidi Eldridge, MS, is a Research Forensic Scientist in the Center for Forensic Sciences at RTI. Ms. Eldridge has over 11 years’ experience in forensic science in the domains of latent prints, crime scene analysis and reconstruction, and controlled substances.

Report Date

December 2016


Purpose

Federal government involvement in forensic science improvement has accelerated in recent years. Federal investments have transformed DNA capacity and demonstrated the power of scientific advances to address criminal justice challenges. In its 2009 report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) advocated for additional coordination and investment by the federal government in scientific research related to the forensic sciences.


Report Summary

This landscape report provides a summary of agency interests, funding opportunities, and published research needs on an organized and interactive platform in order to assist the interested researcher. This compilation lists government agencies and sub-agencies that offer funding opportunities for forensic science researchers, as well as sub-agencies and organizations that offer support for the forensic science research community. Much of the information provided on agency websites has been incorporated into this report verbatim. Hyperlinks of government agencies websites, reports, and funding opportunities offer the reader easy access to additional information.

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Report Date

November 2016


Purpose

State commissions focus on communication and collaboration among laboratories and stakeholders, allocation of resources, laboratory improvements, promulgation of accreditation and certification standards, investigations into misconduct or professional negligence in crime laboratories, and other implementation and oversight issues.


Report Summary

State forensic science commissions may contribute to forensic improvement through oversight and coordination of forensic science resources. This report provides a review for states wishing to create and maintain a state forensic science commission. Recognizing the substantial differences that exist among the states regarding governance, culture, statutes and crime laboratory systems, this report provides an overview of considerations in planning for and developing a state-level forensic science commission.

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Report Date

November 2016


Purpose

On August 29–30, 2016, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) convened a meeting with forensic Laboratory Directors from various regions of the United States. The purpose of the meeting was to (1) gather information and feedback on NIJ programs that are specifically dedicated to forensic science laboratories and (2) to provide an opportunity for an open discussion about the needs and challenges in the forensic science practitioner community.


Report Summary

NIJ’s Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences (OIFS) is the federal government’s lead agency for forensic science research and development, as well as for the administration of programs that provide technical assistance, technology transition, and promote efficiency in the nation’s forensic laboratories. OIFS’ mission is to improve the quality and practice of forensic science through innovative solutions that support research and development, testing and evaluation, technology, information exchange, and the development of resources for the criminal justice community. Therefore, several activities and initiatives OIFS manages are specifically dedicated to the forensic science community, including the nation’s laboratories, and are discussed in this report. In order to best represent the forensic practitioner community, NIJ, through its Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE), and in collaboration with the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD), selected a diverse group of laboratory directors to attend the 2016 meeting. Twenty-seven laboratory directors representing 16 states, three counties, and eight cities were selected after considering factors such as laboratories receiving Coverdell and DNA CEBR funding, and geographic diversity.

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Report Date

January 2015


Report Summary

Familial searching (FS) is an additional search of a DNA profile in a law enforcement DNA database that is conducted after a routine search does not identify any profile matches. FS involves a two-phase process, conducted to develop investigative leads for the purpose of potentially identifying close biological relatives of the source of an unknown forensic profile obtained from crime scene evidence. As clear guidance and documentation of the policies and practices currently employed to ensure proper utilization of familial searching are lacking, this document is designed to educate legal professionals, policy makers, law enforcement and forensic laboratory practitioners of state and local agencies about the current issues, approaches and positions involved with familial searching as applied to criminal investigations. In addition, this document provides an assessment of FS policies and addresses concerns raised from opponents of FS which may be used as a guide to the derivation of policy should an agency choose to conduct FS.

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Archived Webinar Series

For more information, check out the archived webinar series on familial DNA searching.

Familial DNA Searching: Current Approaches – Part 1
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Familial DNA Searching: Current Approaches – Part 2
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Familial DNA Searching: Current Approaches – Part 3
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Familial DNA Searching: Current Approaches – Part 4
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