Forensic Technology Center of Excellence

First in Forensic Science

In September 2007, NFSTC was honored to be named host of the first Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) by the Office of Justice Programs—National Institute of Justice (OJP-NIJ).  The FTCoE was competetively awarded and is part of NLECTC’s Centers of Excellence system created by the OJP-NIJ.

Forensic Science Support and Expertise

From 2007 through the end of 2011, NFSTC developed and operated the FTCoE for NIJ. During this time, the Center provided law enforcement, crime laboratories and other criminal justice agencies a wide variety of forensic science support and expertise, including:

  • Objective information on the performance of new and emerging forensic tools and methodologies through no-cost technology evaluation reports
  • Access to a variety of forensic science programs being conducted across the nation
  • Technology Transition Workshops covering the latest analytical tools and techniques
  • Support for the adoption of new forensic technologies
  • A means for communicating operational needs to guide NIJ research and development activities
  • Access to expertise across the spectrum of forensic science disciplines

In addition, through NFSTC the FTCoE hosted and supported NIJ’s General Forensics and Forensic Biology/DNA Technology Working Groups (TWGs). These TWGs provide practitioners with a forum for sharing operational needs and requirements, and for discussing new technologies/approaches that might best meet these challenges.

Among the projects delivered for the Center:

Technology Transition Workshops including Forensic Anthropology, PSPME-IMS, Rapid Biological Screening, DART Mass Spectrometry for Forensic Analysis, Miniaturized Microfluidic Devices, Field Investigation Drug Officer (FIDO) Program, and more. These training events were videotaped and the full workshops are available online at the NFSTC Projects Portal.

National External DNA Audit Program, providing high-quality DNA audits to public crime laboratories at no charge.

NIJ’s Grant Progress Assessment (GPA) Program, which reviewed open grants from mid-2005 to September 30, 2011.  NFSTC conducted assessments of more than $1 billion of forensic laboratory grants and cooperative agreements to ensure award recipients (“grantees”) were spending the award money according to NIJ guidelines, and were properly documenting these expenditures.  In fiscal year 2011 alone, NIJ awarded 387 grants and cooperative agreements totaling $207 million to help reduce crime and promote justice, particularly at the state and local levels. These awards, which include both first-time funding and supplements to existing awards, were for research, development and evaluation; forensic laboratory enhancement; and research fellowships.

Deployable Forensic Laboratory loan program as part of technology assistance, providing  innovative, efficient and fully-customizable way to provide forensic capability expansion in emergency situations, or provide temporary replacement of forensic analysis capabilities after a natural disaster or other crisis.

Supporting Organizations

When needed, the FTCoE drew upon the expertise and support of forensic organizations around the country, including the Denver District Attorney’s Office, the Denver Police Department Crime Laboratory Bureau, Florida International University, Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, the International Association for Identification, the Midwest Forensics Resource Center, the National Association of Medical Examiners and the University of North Texas.

Additional Resources

All or some of the projects listed were fully or partially funded through grants from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, and/or the US Dept. of Justice. Neither the US Dept. of Justice nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse this website (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided).