Department of State-funded training wraps up

ALS workshop and discussionsThe intense 20-week DNA analyst training for 14 Central American students has concluded and participants are safely back in their home countries.  On site since January, the students tackled techniques and protocols from bio-screening to trial presentation via a blended learning approach.

Discussing statistics results at NFSTCThe students used our online DNA Training program to gain history and theoretical knowledge, followed by hands-on instruction and practice in every step of DNA analysis. NFSTC provided Spanish-speaking instructors and an interpreter to assist at every level, ensuring quality training regardless of language barriers.

Five countries, Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama, each sent two or three representatives. Each laboratory faces its own set of obstacles, but thorough training and consistent knowledge will help build capacity, moving towards accreditation, and support justice initiatives moving forward.

This training was the initial task provided through NFSTC’s first Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) grant. Crime scene training and other projects will follow in the coming months.

You can read more about the program in Forensic Magazine.

INL DNA analyst class

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Celebrating 40 years of ASCLD Success

1973 ASCLD Introduction Hard to believe an idea between 30 crime lab directors in December 1973 would flourish into the international network of professional and academic colleagues the American Society of Crime Lab Directors (ASCLD) is known as today.

At this year’s annual ASCLD symposium in Dallas a very special booth in the expo hall celebrated the history of the organization with a timeline of achievements and notable moments.

The milestones highlighted across the 15 foot display include the humble beginnings scribbled in Briggs White’s notebook, the acceptance of DNA as evidence, and the creation of ASCLD/LAB. It Jean Stover at ASCLD History Displaytells the story of the men and women who helped shaped the organization through the incredible changes in legislation and scientific discovery.

Attendees stopped by to take a moment to flip through the old newsletters or watch photos scroll past on the TV. Tweet your favorite memory with #ASCLDhistory.

The next ASCLD Symposium will be in Atlanta in 2018.

Download the full poster below.

  ASCLD History Display

ASCLD History Display

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Online CSI Skills proficiency assessments now available

Screen grab of virtual crime scene from After the Fact assessment 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
  • Examination
  • Interpretation
  • Documentation
  • 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.

After the Fact Still“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.

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NFSTC awarded contract to support U.S. Marines

We are excited to announce a new contract to continue our work with U.S. Marine Corps Law Enforcement teams, supporting them with logistics and exploitation training. The contract is for one base year and four option years, with a total value of $12.7 million.

NFSTC is proud to support our armed forces and is committed to providing the highest levels of quality service. We also provide training and support services to the U.S. Army and Navy through a variety of contract vehicles.

Contact us at info@nfstc.org to learn how we can support your teams.

NFSTC hosts Opioids and Officer Safety Webinar

Between 2014 and 2015, death rates resulting from synthetic opioids other than methadone increased more than 72 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The opioid epidemic is causing a unique safety concern for first responders in the field who may come contact with the drug unknowingly. Even a small amount of fentanyl in the air can lead to an overdose.

Join NFSTC as we host an “Opioids and Officer Safety” webinar with Mike Healy, Thursday, February 9 at 1 p.m. EST. As a forensic chemist with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, he’s encountered synthetic opioids in his laboratory at an alarming rate, the highest in Florida. Healy will discuss best practices for PPE, collection, analysis, and the signs and symptoms of an overdose, and take questions about officer safety and protocol.

Resources to share with your agency will be available. We welcome questions and comments about what’s happening in your jurisdiction.

Register today for the free webinar.
POST UPDATE: The recorded webinar can be found online here.

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