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.
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.