CSI Night at NFSTC

More than 80 business, community and law enforcement leaders in the Tampa Bay area had the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get first-hand experience in working a crime scene at the National Forensic Science Technology Center’s (NFSTC) CSI Night on Thursday, January 28th.

US Attorney Robert O'Neill, Joy O'Neill and Kevin Lothridge at CSI Night at NFSTC.
US Attorney Robert O'Neill, Joy O'Neill and Kevin Lothridge at CSI Night at NFSTC.

This invitation-only event educated community leaders about NFSTC, its projects, partners, and activities while also giving them a look into the world of forensics that most people never get. 

“Let’s face it, many business are heading into 2010 coming off some difficult times,” said Kevin Lothridge, CEO of NFSTC.  “Right now, because of the emerging importance of forensics and biometrics technologies, it is just the opposite for NFSTC.  We’re growing and we want to share some of the contributions we are making in the Tampa Bay business community as well as the global forensic community.”

Invited guests received their credentials, case file and evidence bag and participated in interactive activities giving them a rare opportunity to see how the real forensic professionals work. Each learning center debunked a commonly-held myth about an area of forensic science, including:

  • Fingerprinting
  • DNA collection
  • Ballistics  
  • Crime Scenes
  • Digital evidence
  • National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs.gov)
Carrie Sutherland, senior forensic specialist-DNA, demonstrates the use of alternate light sources for attendees of CSI Night at NFSTC.
Carrie Sutherland, senior forensic specialist-DNA, demonstrates the use of alternate light sources for attendees of CSI Night at NFSTC.

“With the popularity of shows like CSI and all its progeny, there is an increased awareness and interest in the world of forensics,” said Lothridge. “What better way to show the community how we influence this industry than to let them see and experience it first-hand.”

NFSTC, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, was founded in 1995 with one staff person, $1500 and a charge to ‘do good things’ for the industry.  The organization has grown to (an estimated) $13.1 million in annual sales in 2009 with nearly 50 employees who provide assessments, technology transition, training and support for the justice, forensic and military communities. The organization manages the Forensic Technologies Center of Excellence, directing special projects and support for forensic science conferences and Technical Working Groups. NFSTC receives funding through grants, 15 cooperative agreements with the National Institute of Justice, and contract services, always with the goal to ensure quality forensic services nationwide.

New Classes: Essentials of CSI Training

NFSTC e-learning_imageThis training program is designed to introduce law enforcement personnel to the fundamental principles of crime scene investigation, including techniques used to recover a variety of high value items of evidence. The 40 hour course includes 16 hours of prerequisite online theoretical course work and 24 hours of hands‐on instructor led practical activities conducted at NFSTC, in Largo, FL. Participants will be required to complete online course work, assignments and assessments prior to attending the onsite practical instruction.

Who should attend?

  • Newly-assigned crime scene investigators
  • CSI examiners with less than 3 years crime scene investigation experience who have not attended a formal crime scene training course
  • Law enforcement first responders

 Applications are being accepted for April/May training sessions and must be submitted by 11:59pm EST on Sunday, March 7, 2010.

Click here for full details.

NFSTC earns honors in Ultimate Management Team awards

LARGO, Florida (December, 2009) – The National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) executive team was recognized by the Tampa Bay Business Journal as one of the area’s top management teams. CEO Kevin Lothridge, COO David Epstein and Chief Projects Officer David Sylvester accepted the award at the Journal’s event in early December.  NFSTC took the 5th spot in a field of 20 finalists. The current management team has worked together since 2003 and has led the organization to new success levels over the past three years.

Selections were based on the organizations achievements and growth in multiple areas.  NFSTC’s highlights include:

Year Over Year Financial Performance and Job Growth

By continually pursuing new business opportunities that fit with NFSTC’s core competencies and partnering with organizations that complement NFSTC’s capabilities, this forward-looking management team has created a flexible organization that can rapidly adjust to the needs of its growing customer base. In addition to providing services to public crime laboratories, NFSTC now serves law enforcement (crime scene, homicide and cold case investigators), medical examiners/coroners and the military. As a result, year over year financial performance and job growth has been significant.

Employee Retention

The NFSTC Executive team is committed to providing the type of work environment that attracts a wide variety of talented professionals.  NFSTC’s rich employment package includes employer paid health benefits and retirement contributions, as well as wellness and professional development benefits beyond what a small organization normally provides.  Overall retention rates of greater than 92% reflect the outstanding results of these efforts.

Creation of a Track Record

Over the years, NFSTC has developed and delivered high quality, well-received projects that have resulted in the creation of a successful track record that opens doors to repeat business and new opportunities.  Sample projects include training and field implementation products:

  • National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs.gov) – for law enforcement, medical examiners/coroners and the general public
  • Forensic Information Data Exchange (FIDEX) – for law enforcement, laboratories and the courts
  • Field Investigation Drug Officer (FIDO) – for law enforcement
  • Quality Documents Program – for forensic laboratories
  • Firearm Examiner Training
  • Trace Evidence and Homicide Investigation Symposiums
  • Collecting DNA Evidence at Property Crime Scenes
  • Principles of Forensic DNA for Officers of the Court
  • DNA Analyst Training

External Branding

With the size and reach of NFSTC expanding from a fairly narrow scientific audience to a much broader base of forensic service providers, it became clear that the organization’s external branding needed to be repositioned. The executive team designated this as a priority item when expanding the staffing levels in 2008 and built an in-house team to not only re-brand, but establish a full communications strategy, brand, Web site, materials and supporting items to create and maintain a system that supports the wider customer base and prospects being developed.

The story can be found at http://tampabay.bizjournals.com/tampabay/stories/2009/12/07/focus8.html.