ON THE COVER: "CSI burnout is a real symptom of unresolved emotions, and we need to recognize this, and we need to do better," writes author Maria C. Pettolina.



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Evidence Management of Self-Collected Items

THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM relies on functioning teams of professionals and an evidence management system with high standards to guide identification, collection, packaging, storage and security of evidence, guaranteeing no contamination or degradation while being transported. Figure 1 identifies evidence for multiple variables that influence the quality and amount of DNA evidence. Although health-care providers obtain knowledge about influencing health variables during their basic education, this does not include evidence identification or management. Therefore, there is a recommendation for appropriate training in the collection, preservation, and packaging of items holding potential probative value. Integral to the evidence process is chain of custody, which tracks all of the handlers.

Note: To read the full article with references, please view it in our Digital Edition.

Tool Kit: DNA Analysis

Here's a few products to add to your DNA analysis tool kit.

New Drug Testing Method Can Reduce Risk of Accidental Exposure

FOR POLICE, FIRST RESPONDERS, and forensic chemists, testing a suspicious powder can present a risk of accidental exposure via inhalation. This can be especially hazardous if the powder contains fentanyl. Now, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and state forensic laboratories in Maryland and Vermont have demonstrated that a reliable preliminary identification of the contents of a suspicious package can be obtained without opening it, reducing the risk of accidental exposure.

The Skull in Concrete: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Identification

IN AUGUST 2016, A BICYCLIST went to look for a place to relieve himself in the woods off of a highway in New York when he discovered a human skull partially embedded in concrete. He was intrigued by some antique glassware he saw on the ground and then noticed a concrete mound with what appeared to be a human skull inside. The bicyclist contacted the county law enforcement, who responded to the scene. At the scene, law enforcement confirmed a cement mound with an opening at the top, exposing a human skull partially embedded in cement and lying on its right side (see Figure 1). A cervical vertebra was located adjacent to the cement mound, and another cervical vertebra was resting on top of the skull. A search of the adjacent wooded area by law enforcement detected no additional bones or evidence. The concrete mound and associated bones were transported to the county medical examiner’s office where they were documented, photographed, and x-rayed. The medical examiner assigned to the case recognized a multidisciplinary analytical approach would be best, given the unusual circumstances. Thus, the medical examiner enlisted the expertise of a forensic anthropologist, forensic odontologist, forensic artist, trace evidence scientist, and a DNA specialist to maximize the information that could be gleaned from the remains and concrete.

Emotional Wellness: Even CSIs are Allowed to Have Feelings

RESEARCH INVOLVING PHYSIOLOGICAL STRESS and crime scene investigators began surfacing in literature almost a decade ago (Adderley, Smith, Bond, & Smith, 2012). Although there is current research slowly emerging, both in the United States and in other countries, there has been little published throughout the past decade addressing how trauma and PTSD specifically affects crime scene investigators. I would like to give credit to Evidence Technology Magazine for publishing articles on emotional health throughout my time as a subscriber.

Comparative Study of the Development of Latent Impressions on Gloves

PHYSICAL EVIDENCE is a common occurrence, most likely found at every crime scene. Each piece of evidence may provide investigators with probative information regarding the circumstances of the event, or the presence of a specific person. The use of gloves is often used in the commission of a crime, and often collected by crime scene responders for forensic examination and analysis.

3D Laser Scanning Techniques for the Crime Scene Investigator: Part 2 - Executing the Scan

SO, YOU’VE DONE THE WORK of planning your scans and positioning the scanner. You are almost ready to get started with your first scan, right? Not quite yet. The purpose of scanning a crime or crash scene is to complete a measurable diagram in a 3D world. Stop and think of the reason we create a measurable diagram of any kind: It is to preserve the crime, crash, or fire scene at that moment in time, as it was on that day. But we don’t need measurements for that. The reason we collect measurements, regardless of the diagramming method, is to enable presentation in court, to know where everything was located, and to be able to accurately put everything back in its place if asked to do so by the judge.

New Center of Excellence to Focus on Rapid DNA

CRIME LABS, LAW ENFORCEMENT, and first responders who want to learn more about Rapid DNA technology now have a resource in Largo, Florida. In November, the Rapid DNA Center of Excellence held a ribbon cutting at its facility, recently established at the National Forensic Science Technology Center at Florida International University.

Digital Forensics Symposium Coming to Alexandria, VA in December 2019

The upcoming Digital Forensics for National Security Symposium, presented by Defense Strategies Institute (DSI), will bring together members of federal government agencies, DOD, US military services, academia, and industry in a "town-hall" type forum to discuss how digital forensics—sometimes called "computer forensics"—is advancing the application of scientific investigation into digital crimes, attacks, and intrusions at the national, state, and local levels.

GCC Forensics Exhibition & Conference Announces Agenda

GCC Forensics Conference & Exhibition is the must attend event for the entire forensic sector in the Middle East.The Conference Agenda for the 3rd edition of the GCC Forensics Conference, organized by Clarion Events, has been released. Following the unprecedented success of the first two editions of the event, there was an overwhelming response to the Call for Abstracts and the agenda is packed full of first-rate speakers from around the world.


Item of Interest

The language barrier between English-speaking investigators and Spanish-speaking witnesses is a growing problem. (Updated 28 February 2011)