Organization Profile - ACSR

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Association for Crime Scene Reconstruction

Year Created: 1991

Stated Mission: ACSR is an international association of criminalists and forensic professionals dedicated to the advancement of forensic science and crime scene reconstruction (CSR). ACSR reaches that goal through encouraging the exchange of information related to CSR, stimulating research, promoting the professional improvement of its members, and providing consultation with peers.

Number of Members: 172 members in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Disciplines Served: ACSR is dedicated to the advancement of crime scene reconstruction (CSR). CSR encompasses a broad range of crime scene analysis to include sub-disciplines such as bloodstain pattern analysis and shooting reconstruction. But, in promoting a holistic integration of information in order to provide the most thorough analysis, CSR also requires the understanding and use of a full spectrum of forensic disciplines from crime scene investigation to wound pathology to 3D modeling.

Website: www.acsr.org


Does the ACSR offer any kind of certification?

ACSR members have been directly involved in developing the Crime Scene Reconstruction Certification program for the International Association for Identification. ACSR is currently offering to cover the testing fee for qualifying members who successfully pass the test, but whose agency will not cover the fee. To date, a number of members have passed the certification, but none have taken advantage of the reimbursement, so funding is still available. ACSR also purchased two complete sets of the reference texts for the certification program that are available to members to check out from the ACSR Library to prepare for the exam.

Is there an annual conference?

Yes, ACSR sponsors an annual conference every February. The three-day conference includes an engaging mix of presentations and workshops. The workshops provide the attendees opportunities to get hands-on experience with different reconstruction techniques and tools. Some recent workshops have included using and photographing laser trajectories taught in a real shooting scene, live-fire training on ejection-pattern protocol and interpretation, perspective grid photogrammetry, interpreting burn injuries on children, hands-on lessons using 3D-modeling software, and bloodstain taxonomy. The 2012 conference is in Monterey, California, February 14-16, and will include presentations on the reconstruction of a peace-officer murder, a workshop on Taser-component examinations, and a live-fire workshop on ballistic gelatin.

What other opportunities does the annual conference offer?

There is one more uniquely ACSR event at all our conferences: The Last Piece Society. This is an informal evening of case presentations that assembles some of the greatest practitioners of crime scene reconstruction in a single room. Any attendee can present a case that they just can’t figure out—the case that needs a new approach, or that needs to have an unusual theory validated. By presenting at Last Piece Society, they get immediate feedback that would normally cost thousands of dollars in consulting fees. Participants in the Last Piece Society provide guidance and a fresh perspective to find that last piece of the puzzle in a fun, open, sometimes confrontational, and always collaborative way that should not be missed.

How does the ACSR reach out to students?

ACSR has a student membership program encouraging forensic science students to become members while helping them develop contacts within the field. This is a unique opportunity because regular membership requires three years of prior crime scene investigative experience. However, by becoming a student member, that student also receives a grace period during which they can temporarily continue their membership until the requirements for regular membership are met. In the meantime, they have access to all the benefits of membership and access to the network of professionals in ACSR, giving them a distinct advantage over counterparts who must develop more work experience before they can apply.

Describe efforts to promote research and innovation.

The ACSR Research Grant is available to all members and to forensic science students, even if they are not members. This grant is an award of up to $500 to help cover the cost of equipment and supplies required for a CSR-related research project. The grant program is administered by the President-Elect, who receives and reviews all grant proposals.

What primary challenges face the forensic science community—and how is the organization currently working to address them?

Throughout the forensic community, we are continually being challenged to defend the scientific basis of our disciplines—as well we should. ACSR addresses questions regarding the use of a scientific approach in CSR by promoting open dialog, sharing of information, and professional development. More recently, ACSR has taken some new steps to strengthen CSR. Several years ago, the ACSR newsletter began a transformation into a peer-reviewed forensic journal.

Another important quality for any science is for its members to use a common language. In 2011, the Board of Directors recognized a need for an agreed set of terminology and approved the formation of a Crime Scene Reconstruction Standardization Committee and a Shooting Reconstruction Standardization Committee. These committees are currently drafting glossaries of terms commonly used in those two fields. This is the first comprehensive effort to standardize terminology in these disciplines and will provide a valuable resource to all crime scene and shooting reconstruction practitioners. The early drafts of these glossaries will be made available to ACSR members for review later this year.

 
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