Leaving a mark on the St. Petersburg Science Festival

Kids at the St. Petersburg Science FestivalIt’s always a great day for science, but this Saturday was a perfect day to celebrate the sixth annual St. Petersburg Science Festival. NFSTC staff, Pinellas Park High School Criminal Justice Academy students and a University of South Florida St. Petersburg ROTC Cadet shared their knowledge with thousands of children on the USFSP campus.

In our expanded three-tent booth, kids were able to solve the puzzle of fingerprints; examine their own loop, whorl or arch; match the tire print; and check their cyber awareness. Once again, the highly coveted evidence bags were supplied by Lynn Peavey and were gone Louis the pug at the St. Petersburg Science Festival before we packed up.

Even our furry friends had a chance to check out the “CSI: Largo” tent.

If you missed out on the fun, visit our Facebook and Twitter accounts for more great action shots. You can also download our at-home activity guide to continue the investigation year-round.

  At-Home Chemistry Activities


  At-Home CSI Activities

NFSTC to host free federal surplus program training

Image of the NFSTC challenge coin.Does your nonprofit, school or agency need materials to support programs?  Florida’s State Agency for Surplus Property (SASP) provides qualified groups access to a database of government surplus items, allowing them to acquire no- or reduced-cost goods.

What kind of materials are available? You can find thousands of items from circuit breakers to tractor trailers. Organizations can benefit by acquiring small or big-ticket items at very budget-friendly prices.

NFSTC is hosting a training session on Tuesday, September 27 for organizations in the Tampa Bay/Central Florida area to learn about how to access, use and benefit from SASP.

Your organizations may qualify for access if you are a

  • State or public agency.
  • Nonprofit educational or public health institution (including programs for the homeless and impoverished).
  • Museum, VFW, SBA 8(a).
  • Nonprofit or public program for the elderly.
  • Public airport.
  • Educational activity of special interest to the U.S. Armed Forces.

Learn more about SASP Eligibility here.

Space is limited. Reserve your seat for this free training today.

Note: This training provided by the Florida Department of Management Services.  Surplus program is run by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).

Join us for Forensic Science Week

National Forensic Science Week Aug. 7-13, 2016In celebration of National Forensic Science Week’s fourth year, have a full week of highlighting the vital need for the industry as a public service. Forensic science has been in the spotlight and the hot seat. The truth is, when the science is properly used it can and will service justice.

All this week, we’ll be talking about the essentials for crime scene investigation, from the basics to what’s next in the field.

  • Monday– Crime Scene Photography: Not just another selfie
  • Tuesday– Forensic DNA: What we can and can’t see
  • Wednesday – Digital forensics: The tell-all cellphone
  • Thursday – Forensic chemistry: Street drugs, death and the science of it all. We’ll also be hosting our second Reddit AMA, featuring Kevin Lothridge, CEO, taking questions about street chemistry.
  • Friday– What’s next in CSI?

For the third year in a row, the city of Largo, home to our Florida home office, has ordered a proclamation in honor of this week.

If you aren’t already, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube for all the latest information this week and throughout the year!

Women, Science and the Uniform

Cadet swabs for DNAEleven Cadets will fall in this month for the annual Biometric and Forensic Internship at the National Forensic Science Technology Center. For the first time in the Largo, Florida based program’s eight year history, females will outnumber their male counterparts; a growing trend in the forensic science community.

A recent survey of accredited collegiate forensic science programs found women comprise nearly 80% of students[1]. The seven female Cadets arriving at NFSTC are in a unique cross section of military and forensic science. “These Cadets are really making their mark in what was traditionally a male dominated career field just a decade ago,” Kevin Lothridge, NFSTC’s CEO, explains.

Lothridge says the trend in the year’s ROTC class could be felt in the organization’s other military trainings. “It is an exciting time to see more women not only interested in STEM fields in general, but building careers in forensic science. We are honored to help guide the next generation of Army leaders.”

2015 Cadets at IED Awareness“I am most excited to see how the forensic field works with the military,” says Jordan Erisman, University of Tampa ROTC Cadet. “I had never really thought there was much overlap between the two until I started looking into the internship at NFSTC.”

The 19-year-old Forensic Science student plans to join the Army’s Chemical Corps or Military Intelligence after graduation. “This opportunity directly correlates with my career aspirations of working in a forensic laboratory.”

When Cadet Stormy Lindsay graduates from the University of South Florida, she will join more than 39,000 other female officers in military[2]. “This internship fits perfectly with my current track of becoming a military police officer, once commissioned,” Lindsay explains. “I’m looking forward to seeing how the forensic field correlates to our nation’s success on the battlefield.”

When the Cadets graduate, they will also have new military career opportunities available to them. Earlier this year, the Department of Defense opened all positions to women, including infantry and special operations.

Since 2009, NFSTC has offered the Biometric and Forensic Internship to up-to 12 Cadets at no cost to them or command. The two weeks focuses cutting-edge biometric and forensic identification and collection techniques. In addition, the ROTC Cadets build skills such as leadership, decision-making, and prioritizing actions under pressure.

We’d like to thank our generous sponsors for their donations for the 2016 internship:

Sponsors:

  • John Allison, NFSTC Board Member
  • James Cali, NFSTC Board Member
  • Suzanne and Gary Grant
  • John and Diana Ives
  • Carol Koch
  • Laura and Kevin Lothridge
  • Mitchell Morrisey, NFSTC Board President
  • Chris Vivian

In-kind Donors

  • Lynn Peavey
  • Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
  • Net Bio
  • Eagle 32
  • Global SOF
  • Tampa Bay Yacht Charters
  • John Boscia
  • Training Team Solutions

NFSTC will host a photo gallery that captures the cadets in action throughout the two-week course on Facebook, so log on and follow along!

[1] Houck, Max M. “Is Forensic Science a Gateway for Women in Science?” Forensic Science Policy & Management: An International Journal 1.1 (2009): 65-69. Web.

[2] “Women in the Military.” Women’s History Month 2016. Department of Defense, Mar. 2016. Web. 12 July 2016.

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NFSTC Notice: Fentanyl Precautions for Responders

Warning IconA barrage of recent news, headlined by the death of Prince, highlights the dangers of opioid-based painkillers and fentanyl in particular. Although prescription fentanyl is not new, versions of the drug are being created and sold outside the controls of normal pharmaceutical production and distribution, resulting in uncontrolled manufacturing, low cost, high availability, and extreme dosages of the drug. Unlike many illicit drugs, the fentanyl being found on the streets is lethal and can affect officers who do nothing more than handle the sample during a routine stop.

Fentanyl is approximately 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine Click To Tweet and roughly 40 to 50 times more potent than pharmaceutical grade (100% pure) heroin.

NFSTC believes widespread general precautions should be taken by all officers, evidence personnel and laboratory analysts who are at risk simply by their exposure to unknown powders and liquids.

Recommended General Precautions:
Fentanyl is manufactured in pill, powder, liquid and patch formats. Fentanyl has been found in heroin and other drugs, so its presence cannot be excluded just because it is not in a traditional form.

Law Enforcement Officers, First Responders and Evidence Personnel:
Proper Personal Protection Equipment (PPE):  Minimum PPE is advised for ALL DRUG-RELATED ENCOUNTERS includes gloves, mask and eye protection.

Processes and Protocol:
Due to the extreme toxicity of this substance in all forms, NFSTC recommends every agency conduct an immediate review of unknown powder and drug collection protocols and evidence processing.

  1. Do NOT open samples or containers that appear to be drugs without PPE. (Don’t know? Don’t open!)
  2. Do not perform any field-testing without PPE and, if possible, in a fume hood.
  3. Communicate with other first responders and emergency personnel when unknown or suspect material is present.

NFSTC believes it is imperative for personnel at every point in this process be properly trained and knowledgeable about the policies and protocols of their agency, and adhere to them.

For a printable page and resources, click here.