Several NFSTC programs are highlighted in the Spring 2010 edition of Techbeat, a special edition focusing on the forensic sciences. The publication includes articles about:
NamUs, the national system that cross-matches records of missing persons with those of unidentified persons
DNA Clean Techniques, for avoiding contamination during collection of DNA samples
FIDEX, the Forensic Data Exchange system to improve data flow among crime labs, law enforcement and the courts
DNA.gov, a website with free, self-paced, online training for law enforcement, officers of the court and forensic analysts
Forensic Technologies Center of Excellence, an NIJ-established entity hosted by NFSTC in conjunction with four partner agencies
The issue features quotes from several NFSTC staffers about the variety of projects at the center, including CEO Kevin Lothridge, who says of NFSTC’s role in the forensic science community, “We’re the first adopters of new technology…. We look at everything, from things that officers and investigators would use at a crime scene, to tools for the crime lab and ultimately evidence in the court room.”
Techbeat is the official publication of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center, an NIJ program. The publication is dedicated to reporting developments in technology for law enforcement, corrections and forensic sciences.
To see the full text of the special edition of Techbeat, click on the link below.
To help laboratories assess the strengths and limitations of LED and laser light sources for evidence identification, NFSTC conducted an evaluation comparing the performance of the Coherent® Semiconductor Laser to the Rofin Forensic Polilight® Flare Plus. Visit the Technology Evaluations page to download the complete report and view a large collection of images produced by each light source.
NFSTC recently completed its technical evaluation of Promega’s PowerPlex® 16 HS STR amplification kit. This evaluation utilized the same sample set and performance standards as NFSTC’s previously published study of eight commercially available STR amplification kits. To see how the PowerPlex performed compared to other kits, visit the Technology Evaluations page.
Near-infrared spectroscopy is currently utilized in a variety of industries including pharmaceutical manufacturing, agriculture, environmental monitoring and petrochemical production. But is it the right technology for rapidly identifying materials such as controlled substances and explosives? NFSTC recently evaluated the Polychromix PHAZIR™ analyzer to find out. Visit the Technology Evaluations page to download the complete evaluation report.
The National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) was presented with the August Vollmer Excellence in Forensic Science Award for contributions to forensic science at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) at their annual conference in Denver earlier this month. The organization’s program of making deployable forensic laboratories available to agencies and laboratories around the country was selected for this distinct honor.
Due to the nature of forensic analysis, any loss of operational time can create a significant backlog of casework affecting court schedules, local law enforcement processes and public safety. Deployable forensic laboratories are an innovative and efficient way to provide expansion in emergency or combat situations, or temporary replacement of forensic analysis capabilities after a natural disaster or other crisis. One of the organization’s six deployable laboratories is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, replacing facilities that were damaged by last year’s catastrophic flooding. That community’s forensic service unit was in the basement of the police department and was destroyed. The deployable laboratory is providing work space while facilities are rebuilt.
NFSTC developed the laboratories in partnership with the Department of Defense and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to make these capabilities available to local or national forces when needed.
The labs provide expandable facilities free of charge to the agency in need, support that comes through a grant from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). DTRA previously funded the development, integration, test, and delivery of the mobile forensic laboratories, which are operated and maintained by NFSTC and NIJ provides the funding required to maintain the units. Two other laboratories are currently in service with the Michigan State Police to assist them in continuing operations while they secure new permanent laboratory space.
The IACP recognizes the significant impact forensic science has on the criminal justice system and has established the August Vollmer Excellence in Forensic Science Award to honor the proactive, innovative use of forensic technologies by law enforcement.