Forensic Technology Center of Excellence

Policy & Standards

All of our webinars, reports, podcast episodes, and other educational resources are available to the public at no cost.

Funding for the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence has been provided by the National Institute of Justice.

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US and forensic science disciplines

2021 Forensic Science Research Federal Stakeholders Public Meeting

Overview The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in partnership with the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE), held a Forensic Science Research Federal Stakeholders meeting on November 8, 2021 from 9:00AM…

The Importance of Data to the MDI Community and Stakeholders

← Back to MDI Webinar Series This webinar originally occurred on November 2nd, 2021 Duration: 1 hour Many stakeholders rely on medicolegal death investigation (MDI) data to support efforts that help save lives and promote justice. These stakeholders include federal,…

National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits: A Multidisciplinary Approach Mobile App

Go MOBILE for FREE with the National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits App! Get the app here or search for “National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits” on the Google Play Store. Google Play and the Google Play logo…
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Introduction to the Forensic Anthropology Database for Assessing Methods Accuracy

This webinar originally occurred on August 31st, 2021 Duration: 1 hour Data availability is the cornerstone of progression of any scientific inquiry. For forensic anthropologists, the data sources are limited, as they must be contextually appropriate (temporal, geographical, etc.) for…
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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…
type writer with stack of papers

Multiple Perspectives on Overdose Fatality Reviews

This webinar originally occurred on July 27th, 2021 Duration: 1 hour This webinar provided an overview of overdose fatality reviews (OFRs) with a specific focus on engaging partnerships with coroners, medical examiners, and medicolegal death investigators.  The presenters highlighted OFRs…
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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Just a Guide to Sexual Assault Response Reform

Original Release Date: April 30, 2021 In episode three of our Sexual Assault Awareness Month mini season, Just Science sat down with Dr. Patricia Melton, co-director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Training and Technical Assistance program, to discuss a…
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…

Introduction to Touch DNA Evidence for Sexual Assault Groping Cases Video Series

Overview: The Importance of Touch DNA Evidence in Sexual Assault Groping Cases video series is presented by Dr. Julie Valentine and Heather Mills as a companion to the Journal of Forensic Nursing article entitled “Evidence Collection and Analysis for Touch…
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Just Polysubstance Use and the Importance of Data Trends

In episode ten, Just Science interviews Josh Yohannan, a forensic chemist and expert in emerging drug trends, about polysubstance use in the opioid overdose epidemic.  Polysubstance use dramatically increases the potential for overdose or negative side effects of drug use. While there is no “one-size-fits-all” description of…
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Just Addressing the Stigma of Substance Abuse Disorder

In episode nine, Just Science interviews Clarence Jordan, the Vice President of Wellness and Recovery at Beacon Health Options, to discuss stigma and its impact to programs designed to support those with substance use disorder and on individual level outcomes.  There is no shortage of stigma surrounding the overdose crisis facing our…
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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…
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Just Building Policy From The Ground Up

Original Release Date: March 5th, 2021 In episode seven, Just Science interviews Dr. Alex Kral, an infectious disease epidemiologist at RTI International, about innovative policy solutions to improve outcomes for people with substance use disorder.  Community-based research takes place within community settings and involves community members which allows…
block letters that spell out the word Evidence

Understanding the Statistics Behind Forensic Conclusions Workshop Series

Interactive Workshop Duration: 20 hour(s) Since the dawn of forensic DNA analyses in the 1980s, legal and scientist scholars have pushed for strengthening the logical and statistical foundations of forensic science. In the U.S., this impulsion has resulted in reports…
Data points

Success Story: Revolutionizing Laboratory Efficiency Assessments Through Project FORESIGHT

National Institute of Justice and West Virginia University Report Date March 2020 Overview 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…
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,…
Circle with palm prints in the center

Results of a Black Box Study on the Accuracy and Reliability of Palm Print Comparisons

Thursday, March 12th, 2020 1:00:00 PM ET – 2:00:00 PM ET Duration: 1 hour(s) In 2011, a team of researchers from the FBI and Noblis published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the first large-scale black box…
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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…

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…
constellations over glass lab equipment

The NIJ Forensic Laboratory Needs Technology Working Group – Progress to Date and Future Plans

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…
Person typing on a laptop

ASCLD Train the Director – 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…
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…
chemical compounds behind glass tube

Best Practices in Novel Psychoactive Substances Testing for Laboratory Practitioners

NIJ’s FTCoE and Center for Forensic Science Research and Education   Report Date September 2019 Introduction New psychoactive substances (NPS) have always presented a challenge to analytical laboratories tasked with identifying drugs in biological and nonbiological material. The pace at…
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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…
lights and soundwaves

Module 8: Probabilistic Genotyping Summation and Special Topics

← Back to Series  Probabilistic Genotyping of Evidentiary DNA Typing Results – An Online Workshop Series Module 8: Probabilistic Genotyping Summation and Special Topics Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 12:00:00 PM ET – 4:00:00 PM ET Duration: 4 hour(s) Throughout the Probabilistic…
a series of question marks

MODULE 7: Uncertainty and Limitations of Probabilistic Genotyping Systems

← Back to Series  Probabilistic Genotyping of Evidentiary DNA Typing Results – An Online Workshop Series Module 7: Uncertainty and Limitations of Probabilistic Genotyping Systems Wednesday, June 26th, 2019 from 12:00:00 PM ET – 4:00:00 PM ET Duration: 4 hour(s)…
scales of justice in an empty conference room

Module 5: Representation of Statistical Weight to Stakeholders and the Court

← Back to Series  Probabilistic Genotyping of Evidentiary DNA Typing Results – An Online Workshop Series Module 5: Representation of Statistical Weight to Stakeholders and the Court Wednesday, June 12th, 2019 from 12:00:00 PM ET – 4:00:00 PM ET Duration:…

MODULE 4: VALIDATION OF PROBABILISTIC GENOTYPING SYSTEMS FOR CASEWORK USAGE

← Back to Series  Probabilistic Genotyping of Evidentiary DNA Typing Results – An Online Workshop Series Module 4: Validation of Probabilistic Genotyping Systems for Casework Usage Wednesday, May 29th, 2019 from 12:00:00 PM ET – 4:00:00 PM ET Duration: 4…

MODULE 2: STATISTICAL GENETICS AND THE MECHANISMS OF PROBABILISTIC GENOTYPING

← Back to Series  Probabilistic Genotyping of Evidentiary DNA Typing Results – An Online Workshop Series Module 2: Statistical Genetics and the Mechanisms of Probabilistic Genotyping  Wednesday, May 8th, 2019 from 12:00:00 PM ET – 4:00:00 PM ET Duration: 4…

Module 1: The Elements of DNA Profile Interpretation and Probabilistic Genotyping

← Back to Series  Probabilistic Genotyping of Evidentiary DNA Typing Results – An Online Workshop Series Module 1: The Elements of DNA Profile Interpretation and Probabilistic Genotyping Wednesday, May 1st, 2019 from 12:00:00 PM ET – 4:00:00 PM ET Duration:…

HHRRC – Building Forensic Capacity Post-Conflict: Lessons from Uganda

This webinar originally occurred on March 28th, 2019Duration: 1.5 hours This presentation introduces research conducted in Uganda at the nexus of forensic science and transitional justice, highlighting a large-scale forensic investigation and human identification capacity-building workshop for Ugandan stakeholders. Detailed…

ASCLD Train the Director – 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 – NIBIN Challenges and Opportunities

This webinar originally occurred on January 24th, 2019 Duration: 1 hour This is the first webinar in the ASCLD Train the Director Webinar Series. Crime Gun Intelligence utilizes evidence-based technology to provide law enforcement a unique tool to develop information…
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Forensic Advancement: Just Transparency in Public Communications

<<< back to all podcasts Just Transparency in Public Communications In episode nine of the Forensic Advancement season, Just Science interviews Ramit Plushnick-Masti, Director of Communications for the Houston Forensic Science Center, concerning the role of transparency in the forensics…

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…

Advancing Research Initiatives and Combatting the Human Trafficking Epidemic

Thursday, November 1, 2018 1:00 PM ET – 2:00 PM ET Duration: 1 hour(s) Trafficking in persons is a multi-faceted global epidemic which has seen a significant increase in public awareness. However, there is a substantial need to expand capacities…

New SWGDAM Recommendations on Communicating Likelihood Ratios

Thursday, October 18, 2018 1:00:00 PM ET – 3:00:00 PM ET Duration: 2 hour(s) SWGDAM recently issued recommendations on genotyping results reported as likelihood ratios, designed to promote consistency among laboratories. Members of the committee will discuss the recommendations and…

Strengthening the Medical Examiner–Coroner System Through NIJ-funded Programs: 2018 Medicolegal Death Investigation Stakeholders’ Meeting

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…

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…

3D-ID-Geometric Morphometric Classification of Crania for Forensic Scientists Software Best Practices

Thursday, August 16, 2018 1:00 PM ET – 2:00 PM ET Duration: 1 hour(s) Attendees will be introduced to the new features of the new software release, how to maximize results, and how to best interpret results for forensic casework…

Webinar: Identifying Seized Drugs using Mass Spectral Library Searching

 Tuesday, August 7th, 2018 1:00:00 PM ET – 2:00:00 PM ET Duration: 1 hour(s) The rapid spread of designer drugs has introduced significant identification challenges to the forensic science community. This webinar discusses how Mass Spectrometry and the “Hybrid Search”…

Conference Proceedings: 2018 Impression Pattern and Trace Evidence 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…

Webinar: Transition to Impact – Bringing Research to Practice [ARCHIVAL]

Enabling great research to have impact in the forensics community requires transitioning knowledge from the lab to the market. Come learn about the steps you can take to improve the likelihood of your research impacting practice. Technology and knowledge transition…

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…

Evaluating the Use of DNA Analysis for Family Reunification

This webinar originally occurred on March 14th, 2018 Duration: 1 hour DNA analysis allows for testing relationships (kinship) between two individuals in situations that vary from legal immigration to claimed parentage testing. This webinar focuses on the applicability of DNA…

Identify Synthetic Opioids using Ambient Ionization TOF-MS

← Back to Series  This webinar will present the results of the evaluation of Direct Sample Analysis Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry to provide rapid identification of eighteen fentanyl analogs and related synthetic opioid. As of March 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration…

ASCLD Webinar Series: DNA Standards and Guidelines Part 1

This webinar was targeted to DNA Supervisors, DNA Technical Leaders, Quality Mangers, and DNA Analysts. There was also a question and answer period after the presentation. Forensic DNA Analysis, and in particular interpreting complex DNA mixtures and calculating statistics, can…

Organizing and Transferring SANE/SAFE/SART Knowledge and Best Practices

Overview At the request of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) coordinated a comprehensive Federal effort to organize and transfer knowledge and best practices of sexual assault nurse examiners, sexual assault forensic examiners,…

Organizing and Transferring SANE/SAFE/SART Knowledge and Best Practices

Overview At the request of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) coordinated a comprehensive Federal effort to organize and transfer knowledge and best practices of sexual assault nurse examiners, sexual assault forensic examiners,…

Latent Fingerprints: Reducing Erroneous Exclusions

This presentation discusses reducing erroneous exclusions in latent fingerprints. The exclusion decision is a fairly recent change in latent print comparisons, and the discipline is still struggling with how to handle exclusions. Erroneous exclusions are being discovered with surprising frequency…

Familial DNA Searching: Current Approaches – Part IV

This four-part panel discussion series will elucidate the current landscape of policies and procedures addressing familial DNA searching. Part IV In this particular session, the discussion focused around current technical protocols including software considerations, candidate thresholds derived by likelihood ratio…

Familial DNA Searching: Current Approaches – Part III

This four-part panel discussion series will elucidate the current landscape of policies and procedures addressing familial DNA searching. Part III In this particular session, the discussion focused around the process of investigative follow up from these leads including costs and…

Familial DNA Searching: Current Approaches – Part II

This four-part panel discussion series will elucidate the current landscape of policies and procedures addressing familial DNA searching. Part II In this particular session, the discussion topic was focused around current existing protocols and specifically address questions such as: what…

Familial DNA Searching: Current Approaches – Part I

This four-part panel discussion series will elucidate the current landscape of policies and procedures addressing familial DNA searching. Part I These discussions were used to generate a report designed to educate legal professionals, policy makers, law enforcement and forensic laboratory…

ASCLD Webinar Series: FBI Allele Frequency Amendments – Technical Discussion

Crime Laboratories have earned a position of public trust over time through providing reliable quality results. Keeping public trust includes being self-correcting once an issue is discovered. The Federal Bureau of Investigation allele frequency amendments is an opportunity to demonstrate…

Genome ID Forum 2014 – Applications of Emerging Technologies NIST

Originally presented at the 2014 Genome ID Forum, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) SRMs includes the PCR based DNA profiling standard which covers 51 autosomal and 17 Y chromosome markers, mitochondrial DNA sequencing standards and the human…

2016 NSAPS Panel 2 – Victim-Centered Approaches

The National Institute of Justice, through its Forensic Technology Center of Excellence hosted “Looking Ahead: The National Sexual Assault Policy Symposium” on September 8-9, 2016, in Washington D.C. The audience learned how first responders such as medical staff, victims’ advocates,…

2016 NSAPS Panel 1 – Immediate Aftermath of Sexual Assault

The National Institute of Justice, through its Forensic Technology Center of Excellence hosted “Looking Ahead: The National Sexual Assault Policy Symposium” on September 8-9, 2016, in Washington D.C. This panel provided an overview of how a traumatic event like sexual…
burned house and sofa on fire

Success Story: Identifying Ignitable Liquids in Fire Debris and Providing Error Rates for Purposes of Testifying

NIJ and University of Central Florida Report Date November 2016 Impact “This technique provides an alternative objective method for classifying ignitable liquid residues, which is one of the only viable options for helping to progress fire debris analysis beyond a…