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And it all circles back to...

TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION. Almost six years ago, I wrote an editorial for this magazine (“Show me the education,” July-August 2004) that referred to the general lack of funding available for training law-enforcement professionals in crime-scene investigation and forensic science.

Back then, professionals told us that most agencies’ training budgets were severely under-funded. Well, many would probably agree that their budgets have not really changed that much in six years (in fact, things are tighter now than ever before)… except for one important factor: Law-enforcement agencies and the professionals who work with them can no longer afford not to get the training.

That is because you need training in order to get certification, and certification is a word poised on the lips of folks on every side of the evidence that is presented in court—from the prosecution to the defense. Important questions regarding qualifications, standardization of training, and certification were brought to the forefront of the public’s and forensic community’s consciousness last year by the National Academy of Sciences report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward.

“As we begin to see a well-orchestrated national campaign by the defense bar to challenge forensic evidence, it is increasingly important that police agencies get it right,” said Jan Garvin, vice president of training for the Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Video Association (LEVA), in the cover story for this issue of Evidence Technology Magazine (see Page 10).

Forensic techniques have a tendency to evolve over time. But this is especially true in the case of forensic video analysis, which is the subject of our cover story. Here, the technology that a law-enforcement professional understood just a couple years ago may have already changed dramatically. Forensic video analysis is one field that aims at a continually moving target, as it is rooted in the realm of commercial electronics—a market that has few standards.

The state of this twisting and turning technology means that those who analyze forensic video for evidentiary purposes need to stay especially cognizant in order to know exactly what they are dealing with and how to interpret it correctly. Training and certification will get you that knowledge—but then you must work constantly to stay up to date on the changes and trends in that technology.

Which, of course, circles you back around to: more training.

Kristi Mayo, editor
Evidence Technology Magazine

"And it all circles back to..." written by Kristi Mayo
May-June 2010 (Volume 8, Number 3)
Evidence Technology Magazine
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