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NFSTC receives $12 Million in awards for forensic science initiatives

The National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) announced today that it received more than $12 million in Fiscal Year 2010 grants and cooperative agreements from the Department of Justice for new and continuing initiatives and programs in forensic science. The funding will expand training, technology assistance and the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) to improve forensic science across the country.

NFSTC is partnering with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to continue the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE), the NamUs program, and forensic science training including Crime Scene Investigation and Pattern Evidence courses.

NFSTC will enhance the structure and operation of the FTCoE to ensure the continuation and timely delivery of technology transfer and quality assurance activities. Enhancements to the Center include additional resources for research, development, testing and evaluation (RDT&E) in support of the NIJ; expanded evaluation of technology solutions; and support for new technology implementation. FTCoE will continue to provide quality assessments of publicly funded DNA laboratories and grant progress assessments for NIJ grantees.

The NamUs program continuation will provide for increased staffing, updating and maintenance of the system, outreach and training activities, provisions for forensic services, technical assistance and media and communications services. NamUs is a clearinghouse for missing persons and unidentified decedent records. The free online system can be searched and updated by medical examiners, coroners, law enforcement officials and the general public to solve missing or unidentified person cases. NamUs also provides free DNA testing and other forensic services, such as anthropology and odontology assistance.

For the law enforcement community, NFSTC will offer the Intermediate Crime Scene Investigation course and the Pattern Evidence Latent Print course. Intermediate Crime Scene Investigation expands the information covered in the Essentials of Crime Scene Investigation course, and is targeted to experienced investigators who routinely process crime scenes. Pattern Evidence Latent Print classes will provide additional opportunities for forensic science practitioners to acquire formal training in pattern evidence.

NFSTC, in partnership with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), will collaborate with subject-matter experts from the High-Tech Crime Institute (HTCI) to enhance and expand the existing Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force training program. These enhancements will provide for increased cost-effectiveness, making the training more accessible to Task Force members and affiliated law enforcement agencies, and will include tools and techniques to improve digital investigation, identifying and documenting best practices and developing collateral materials for distribution through the OJJDP website.

“We’re pleased with this opportunity to expand our relationship with the Department of Justice through these programs,” stated Kevin Lothridge, NFSTC CEO. “These programs and initiatives will help forward our mission to support the justice community through improving the quality of forensic science practices.”