Reports of Interest

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Three new reports of interest recently posted
for free download from the U.S. Department of Justice

In late July, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) made three new reports available through its National Criminal Justice Reference Service. The reports are the result of NIJ-funded projects, but were not published by the U.S. Department of Justice. They are all available as free PDF downloads.

“Quantified Assessment of AFIS Contextual Information
on Accuracy and Reliability of Subsequent Examiner Conclusions”

Written by Itiel Dror and Kasey Wertheim

From the abstract: “Experts play a critical role in forensic decision making, even when cognition is offloaded and distributed between human and machine... [especially] when technologies such as Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (AFIS) have introduced cognitive technology that creates such collaborative environments. In this paper we investigated the impact of using AFIS on human decision makers, specifically examining the potentially biasing effects of AFIS contextual information on ... experts.” Full report available here.

“Rapid Visualization of Biological Fluids at Crime Scenes
Using Optical Spectroscopy”

Written by Stephen L. Morgan, Ph.D. and Michael L. Myrick, Ph.D.

From the abstract: “The objective of our research funded by NIJ was to demonstrate proof of concept for a rapid and nondestructive tool using infrared spectroscopy for visualization of blood at crime scenes... We have designed a prototype camera using mid-infrared (IR) spectroscopy with a thermal imaging detector that has a spectral response tuned by filters of polymer films. We have also devised a lock-in amplifier that constructs the contrast image of the scene pixel-by-pixel basis [sic] in real-time using techniques designed to enhance visualization of blood.” Full report available here.

“The Statistical Evaluation of
Torn and Cut Duct Tape Physical End Matching”

Written by Frederic A. Tulleners, M.A. and Jerome V. Braun, Ph.D.

From the abstract: “[F]orensic scientists are frequently asked to analyze and compare duct tape samples in order to establish possible evidentiary links... This study was designed to research duct tape physical end matching, including criteria to describe the matching process, a protocol for training analysts in physical end matching, and statistically evaluating the associated error rates and overall accuracy.” Full report available here.

 
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Item of Interest

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

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