Virtual Workshop Series: 3D Firearm Imaging

Virtual Workshop Series: 3D Firearm Imaging



The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCOE) are delivering a four-session Virtual Workshop Series: 3D Firearm Imaging from August 21 to September 11, 2024. Throughout this workshop series, attendees will hear from a range of presenters and subject matter experts, including Alan Zheng (National Institute of Standards and Technology), Rachael Gominsky (Federal Bureau of Investigation), Todd Weller (Weller Forensics), Erich Smith (Federal Bureau of Investigation), Carey M Alvarez Bacha (Unified Forensic Laboratory), and Raymond Valerio (Queens County District Attorney’s Office). There are a limited number of virtual seats available for participation in this workshop series cohort, and the application closes on July 5, 2024. This series is intended for firearm examiners or soon-to-be firearm examiners working in laboratories that have recently adopted 3D Firearm Imaging or are considering its adoption soon.

3D Firearm Imaging is a powerful new analytical technique that is becoming more commonplace with forensic science service providers (FSSPs) due to its ability to enhance the accuracy and reliability of ballistic evidence analysis. Despite these advantages, 3D Firearm Imaging remains underutilized because of the high costs associated with the technology, the need for specialized training, and the inertia of transitioning from traditional methods. This comprehensive workshop series aims to provide forensic practitioners with a greater understanding of the intricacies of 3D Firearm Imaging. Spanning several sessions, participants will delve into a range of critical topics, each carefully designed to enhance their expertise and proficiency in this specialized field.

In the first session, participants will be introduced to the fundamentals of firearm imaging, becoming familiar with cutting-edge instrumentation essential for the task. Attendees will understand the features and capabilities of scanning technologies and how they capture and process images of firearms and ballistic evidence with both precision and accuracy. They will gain insight into the principles of optics, digital imaging, and image processing, understanding how these concepts are applied in forensic science practices. Moreover, participants will explore the application of control charts as a powerful tool for monitoring and maintaining the quality of imaging processes over time. This ensures consistency and reliability in forensic casework, thereby enhancing the credibility and integrity of investigative outcomes.

Building upon this foundation, the workshop series will further explore the establishment and adherence to industry best practices and standards. Through practical examples, participants will understand the importance of consistency, accuracy, and attention to detail in firearm imaging. This session will provide an overview of validation with a focus on validating systems designed to measure and compare microscopic toolmarks on fired ammunition. Participants will also be introduced to the latest standards from the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) and relevant documents from the Technical Working Group for 3D Toolmark Technologies (TWG3D2T).

Efficiency is paramount in forensic casework, and in session 3 participants will discover strategies to streamline workflows without compromising quality. Attendees will learn about Laboratory integrating Information Management Systems (LIMS) to enhance data management and workflow efficiency. This includes understanding the benefits and challenges of different workflow configurations, gaining insights into selecting the best approach for their specific laboratory needs.

Finally, the workshop series will conclude by preparing participants to effectively communicate their findings in a courtroom setting. From expert testimony techniques to navigating legal considerations and challenges during cross-examination, attendees will emerge equipped with the skills and confidence needed to convey their expertise with clarity and credibility.

Please note that submitting an application for this limited cohort event does not guarantee participation. Applications will be prioritized based on applicants' ability to attend all four live sessions on August 21st, August 28th, September 4th, and September 11th from 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm ET. If selected, you will be notified of your acceptance to attend the workshop by July 19, 2024. The archive event will be made available regardless of live event attendance.

Workshop Details

Interactive Virtual Workshop Series on 3D Firearm Imaging

6 hours

Each session consists of a recorded lecture and discussion, a multiple choice quiz, and suggested readings. A workshop certificate will become available once all session recordings have been viewed and the corresponding quizzes have been completed. 

Session Topics Session Date Session Duration
Session 1 | Introduction to 3D Firearm Microscopy, Instrumentation, and Measurement Practices
Xiaoyu Alan Zheng & Rachael Gominsky
August 21, 2024 2:00 - 3:30 PM ET
Session 2 | Validation Standards and Technical Working Group for 3D Toolmark Technologies (TWG3D2T)
Todd Weller & Rachael Gominsky
August 28, 2024 2:00 - 3:30 PM ET
Session 3 | Casework Efficiency, LIMS Integration, and Workflow Configurations
Carey M. Alvarez Bacha & Erich D. Smith
September 4, 2024 2:00 - 3:30 PM ET
Session 4 | Testimony and Admissibility
Raymond Valerio & Erich D. Smith
September 11, 2024 2:00 - 3:30 PM ET

Related Resources

Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence event was provided by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

All Forensic Technology Center of Excellence live webinars are hosted using Zoom Webinar. Live webinars are archived and posted on our website within two weeks of their airing. Archived webinars do not require access to the Zoom platform.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this event are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Contact us at with any questions and subscribe to our newsletter for notifications.

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