Florida International University (FIU) and NFSTC announce that they are joining forces to make a bigger impact in the field of forensic science. The partnership will expand the university’s diverse offerings and bring NFSTC’s training excellence to a broader audience in the U.S. and around the world.
A 22-year old non-profit, NFSTC will retain its mission of providing forensic science training, support and technology evaluations to military and law enforcement agencies, forensic science practitioners and crime laboratories worldwide. It will also remain at its current location in West Central Florida, where NFSTC has state-of-the-art laboratories and training facilities.
“NFSTC has a vision to bring quality forensic services from the crime scene through to the courtroom. We have trained hundreds of professionals in the skills needed to provide these services,” says CEO Kevin Lothridge. “We are looking forward to working even more closely with FIU’s International Forensic Research institute to elevate education and practice worldwide.”
The International Forensic Research Institute (IFRI) at FIU is world-renowned for its research and education in furthering the field of forensic science. Both IFRI and NFSTC have missions that are
complementary and provide scientific expertise to the law enforcement, defense and legal communities, as well as continuing education and advanced training to practicing scientists.
For Kenneth G. Furton, FIU’s Provost and Executive Vice President, an analytical chemist who founded IFRI 20 years ago, this partnership is especially exciting. “Industry-university collaborations are crucial for the 21st century and forensic science is a discipline that has real world implications and applications,”
he says. “Together, we not only have an opportunity to broaden NFSTC’s services globally, but now our faculty and students will work with NFSTC and their partners to get their discoveries out of the lab and into the marketplace.”
Details are expected to be finalized by the end of 2017.
NFSTC is teaming up with the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) for a new partnership to expand forensic service accreditation in international settings. This combination of NFSTC’s international business reach and ANAB’s accreditation expertise will bring the best knowledge and practice to laboratories outside the United States.
NFSTC is currently working with crime laboratories and crime scene professionals from Central America to improve practice and expand DNA analysis capabilities through training and consulting. This work, funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), includes Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. Portions of the work include preparation for accreditation to ISO/IEC 17020 and ISO/IEC 17025, the international standards for bodies performing inspection and for testing and calibration laboratories, respectively.
This new partnership with ANAB will bring top-notch accreditation training, preparations and assessments to these laboratories. ANAB’s training will provide practitioners with thorough knowledge of standards and practice, and produce skilled local auditors who can continue to monitor and assess the laboratories.
Achieving forensic laboratory accreditation involves a significant investment by the communities and professionals involved. Once accredited, the laboratories will be recognized for their quality and serve to improve and lead the way for justice systems in Central America.
As of December 31, 2017, NFSTC will no longer provide DNA laboratory auditing services. NFSTC has been the top quality provider of DNA audits for 15 years and we are grateful for our many friends and customers in the DNA community.
Why the change? Over the past several years, NFSTC has experienced growth in many areas of our business, allowing us to provide more high-quality training, consulting and technology support to a wide variety of customers, including the Department of State and international agencies.
The good news is there are more audit providers now than ever before. Check with accrediting bodies and regional providers for the services you need.
If your laboratory is already scheduled for an audit between now and the end of the year, that work will proceed with no changes. If you have questions or concerns regarding this announcement, please contact us at email@example.com.
As your forensic resource, NFSTC will always keep up to date with DNA news. Follow us on social media or on our website at www.nfstc.org to stay abreast of forensic innovations and news.
For the ninth year, The National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) is hosting ROTC Cadets from across the country for the Biometric and Forensic Internship.
The sought after program covers hands-on introductory training from DNA to digital forensics in an intense two-week course, from Monday, July 17 – Friday, July 28. Each discipline is taught by NFSTC’s own subject matter experts and targets growing areas of importance to our nation’s security.
The Cadets will also be expanding their skills at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Firing Range, Tuesday, July 25. For the fourth year, the Sheriff’s Office instructors will teach the Cadets about firearm use and safety. Then, they are allowed to utilize the facility to practice those skills.
NFSTC has provided this internship at no cost to the Cadets nor their commands since 2009. “We see this as a way to introduce tomorrow’s leaders today to these skills. In these two weeks, we can provide the Cadets with knowledge and understanding that will set them apart in their career path,” explains Kevin Lothridge, NFSTC’s CEO.
To learn more about the internship, including available sponsorship opportunities, visit nfstc.org.
Competency assessment is vital to ensure that a crime scene investigator has the skills and understanding to process a crime scene properly. For the first time, online crime scene skills assessments using virtual scenes and tools are available outside Australia, where they have been a testing standard for almost a decade. NFSTC hosts and manages the online tool.
“After the Fact has provided our jurisdiction with an easy-to-use and cost effective means to conduct proficiency testing of our investigators which meets the requirements of our accreditation,” says Detective Senior Sergeant Harris of the New South Wales Police Force in Australia.
Proficiency testing is critical in forensic science to ensure protocols and procedures are performed correctly and consistently and skills are maintained. Laboratories and agencies seeking to achieve or maintain ISO certifications are required to use regular assessments to ensure a high standard of performance and quality, and crime scene investigators are no exception.
After the Fact (AtF), at www.csi-skills.com, is a comprehensive assessment testing tool for law enforcement. Each assessment covers seven criteria critical to successful crime scene investigation:
- Initial assessment
- Securing the scene
- Exhibit/evidence collection
- Case management knowledge
AtF allows the investigator to “walk through” a virtual crime scene and complete tasks including photography, note taking and evidence collection. When the scene work is complete, the investigator takes an assessment about the scenario using only their knowledge of CSI and the notes and evidence they gathered. A range of scenes are available to test approach and capabilities for both major and property (volume) crimes. Every crime scene is different, but protocol, procedures and approaches to the scene need to be consistent.
“There’s been a reluctance to use online learning, but that’s changing as new technology allows for realistic and secure testing environments,” says Kevin Lothridge, CEO of NFSTC. “Agencies don’t have to recreate scenes or take supervisors out of the field to do these assessments. AtF saves money and time.”
AtF has long been the assessment and testing method of choice in Australia, and is now available for law enforcement agencies, universities and other practitioners world-wide. Assessments are $250 and available at www.csi-skills.com.