Category Archives: Programs

NFSTC wants to hear from you!

Three years ago, NFSTC surveyed forensic service professionals across the country about their needs and their understanding of NFSTC services. Thanks to the feedback of the participants we were able to provide additional projects and services.

With the evolving nature of the forensic science industry, NFSTC would like to invite stakeholders and practitioners to once more make suggestions and provide feedback that can help broaden services and target the most pressing needs of the community. We encourage you to take a few minutes to complete a brief survey. Your input is highly valued.

Click on the link below to access the survey.

If you have questions at any time about the survey, please contact Chris Vivian at 727-549-6067 ext. 187 or by email at

This survey will close Friday, December 9, 2011.

Thank you very much for your time and support. We look forward to serving you in the future!

Changes in the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE)

As you may have heard, the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) will be handing over the operation of the FTCoE system to Research Triangle Institute (RTI) at the end of this calendar year. It has been a long journey since NFSTC developed and launched the Center in 2007. During that time, it has been an honor for our team to serve communities large and small, provide forensic technical support, strengthen our crime laboratory system, evaluate the most innovative technology and provide training opportunities and workshops on a wide variety of topics. The variety of the questions we fielded and the innovativeness of the criminal justice professionals we have served across the country has made this time of service a fantastic and rewarding experience.

Thank you for your continued dedication to the truth, justice and the safety of our communities. NFSTC continues to serve the criminal justice community with a wide variety of forensic training, service and forensic expertise and consulting. We look forward to working with you.

To keep up with the latest in NFSTC services and opportunities, register to review the news via our RSS feed at, or join us at

Free Drug and Explosive Detection Workshop Available Online

Presentations and videos from last month’s Field Detection of Drugs and Explosive Odor Signatures Using Planar Solid Phase Microextraction Ion Mobility Spectrometry (PSPME-IMS) Technology Transition Workshop are now available online free at

The three-day PSPME-IMS workshop provided law enforcement professionals with an introduction to PSPME-IMS as a sampling and detection strategy for illicit drugs and explosives. Topics covered included:

  • applications of the PSPME-IMS technology, as well as sampling and detection protocols
  • an overview of the PSPME sampling and pre-concentration device, including its maintenance
  • use of ion mobility and differential ion mobility spectrometers (benchtop explosives trace detectors (ETD)), coupled with the PSPME device to allow for detection and presumptive identification of threat agents relevant to first responders
  • basic hands-on instruction on IMS analysis and use of instrument software
  • hands-on detection, analysis and interpretation of drug and explosive odor signatures
  • sampling of a vehicle for suspected contraband
  • future directions of PSPME-IMS technology
Testing the PSPME collection device developed at Florida International University. The material provides for a new method of targeting volatiles associated with the presence of drugs and explosives using the existing infrastructure of explosives detectors.

For more information on the PSPME-IMS workshop, visit the project page at For more information on NFSTC’s technology evaluation and transition services, visit the Forensic Technology page at

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), in conjunction with the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC), sponsored this event under a cooperative agreement to help facilitate the transition of novel technologies into practice by operational forensic facilities.

Free forensic DNA resources for law enforcement leaders now online

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has launched a new online training tool, Forensic DNA Education for Law Enforcement Decision Makers, as an educational resource on policy and practice issues regarding the use of DNA analysis to investigate crimes.

The Forensic DNA Education tool, found online at, is targeted to senior-level law enforcement decision-makers. It provides information and education on the policy and practice issues associated with the effective use of DNA analysis, as well as the knowledge to:

  • Streamline investigative processes
  • Implement best practices for handling “cold hits”
  • Understand the basic principles of DNA evidence, including collection, handling and storage
  • Identify the probative value of evidence and prioritize DNA evidence
  • More effectively leverage limited resources
  • Interact more efficiently with crime laboratories to set expectations and manage caseloads
  • Understand the time and resources required from the lab to test different categories of evidence
  • Expert analysis on the impacts of DNA

Learn from the Experts
A panel of experts from across the criminal justice community developed the materials presented on this website to assist law enforcement in addressing:

  • Rising demand for DNA testing
  • Resulting laboratory backlogs
  • DNA database legislation and its impacts to investigators and laboratories, and the greater criminal justice system

Forensic DNA Education for Law Enforcement Decision Makers was created by the National Forensic Science Technology Center and funded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, award #2009-DN-BX-K223.

CSI Effect Theory: New Website

The National Institute of Justice has launched an interactive website dedicated to exploring the CSI Effect theory and the myths and facts surrounding forensic evidence presentation in the courtroom. The website is targeted to officers of the court and provides the latest research on the CSI Effect theory as well as observations from trusted experts throughout the justice community. It can be accessed at

The CSI Effect theory asserts that popular TV crime dramas that focus on forensic science, may affect the behavior and expectations of jurors in real-life cases. The theory also suggests that jurors’ perceptions of the need for specific forensic evidence may impact their decisions in the courtroom.

Through videos and interviews with respected criminal justice practitioners, the CSI Effect Theory website provides new insights into the effects television dramas may be having on today’s juries. Visitors to the website will:

  • Hear experts from the prosecution, defense and the bench examine the evidence regarding the CSI Effect; 
  • Gain strategies to employ in the courtroom that help ensure deliberations in trial proceedings are based on facts, not fiction; 
  • Understand the role crime dramas are playing in influencing juror perception of forensics-based evidence, such as DNA;
  • Access additional resources and evidence pertaining to the CSI Effect theory  

 The CSI Effect Theory website features insights and opinions from: 

  • Robert O’Neill, U.S. Attorney for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa, FL.
  • Nick Mooney, Senior Counsel for Bromagen & Rathet, P.A., in Tampa, FL.
  • Honorable Thane B. Covert, Pinellas Circuit Judge, Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pinellas County, FL.
The CSI Effect Theory was developed for NIJ by the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC), award # 2008-IJ-CX-K405.