New Forensic Laboratory Needs TWG Created

The NIJ's Forensic Technology Center of Excellence recently announced the formation of a new forensic science technology working group, called the Forensic Laboratory Needs TWG (pronounced F-L-N-TWIG).


"The forensic community has been burdened by an increased demand for services, rising case backlogs, and requests for quicker turn-around times," said a release from the FTCOE on May 31, 2018. "Funding, personnel, training, and equipment needs have not always kept pace with new demands. In light of these challenges, we’re exploring new ways to increase testing capacities and decrease backlogs. We’re also looking at ways to increase casework efficiencies with new technologies and systems-based strategies. The third thing we’ve learned is that the future of forensic science holds great promise. There’s never been greater public interest in the field of forensics. Research is flourishing. Revolutionary technologies like rapid DNA and next generation DNA sequencing are on the verge of becoming reality. And the Justice Department’scommitment to forensic innovation has never been stronger.

"Thanks to these listening sessions, we have a better understanding of the technology needs of the forensic community, but we realize that these listening sessions can only take us so far in answering the questions I shared a moment ago."

The new FLNTWG will be hosted by the NIJ and supported by FTCOE. It will be made up of lab directors representing a diverse cross-section of public and independent labs from across the United States.

"In addition to lab directors, the group will include a small number of leaders in the field of forensic science research," said the FTCOE announcement. "We believe this model — of practitioners supported by researchers — is the best path forward."

The announcement states that the group will meet in person twice a year, and was formed utilizing feedback from ASCLD leaders and other forensic science stakeholders.

"With the TWG, we are inviting you to the table and telling you that we are committed to strengthening the relationship between the Justice Department and forensic science practitioners," said the announcement.

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