ON THE COVER: How have forensic light sources improved the detection of latent prints over the years, and how does one select the best forensic light source? Read more in the current issue of ETM.



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New Trends in Today's World of Evidence Management

LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES maintain an extensive inventory of crime scene evidence. The proper tagging, labeling, and marking of evidence provides a chain of custody to support the claim of evidence presented in court is the same evidence that was collected at a crime scene. Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology can facilitate, standardize, and automate inventory for law enforcement evidence management.

Ambiguous Deaths: Critical Analysis in Determining Investigative Direction

A COLLEAGUE OF MINE, Lou Elliopulos, has often said, “Some investigations define an agency,” and he goes on to add the caveat, “We don’t get to choose those investigations.” It is death investigations—and often more accurately, the ambiguous death investigations—that end up leading the newsfeeds. The challenge for us as investigators is to be able to quickly establish an accurate investigative direction while remaining flexible enough to change course as the evidence and investigation dictate.

Elder Abuse and Maltreatment: A Case Series Synopsis of 612 Victims

ELDER ABUSE is an under-reported crime that is estimated to occur in 14-15% of the population over 65 years of age. Data shows that the crime is witnessed in most cases, but not reported. The reasons for under-identification and under-reporting include the concept of ageism or bias against the elderly, time constraints and prioritization of care in the emergency department, age related changes, cognitive impairment, co-morbidities, and the lack of validated instruments for screening.

How to Become a Less Jaded CSI

THIS ARTICLE IS A FOLLOW-UP for those of you who reached out with kindness and bravery after the emotional wellness article “Even CSIs are Allowed to Have Feelings” was published by Evidence Technology Magazine. One recurring theme was that yes, trauma causes stress in CSIs, but an equal cause of stress is how we are treated by officers, supervisors, and command staff. Indeed, things are changing, where crime scene units are being staffed and supervised by civilians who have the same background and experiences as us. Some crime scene units are even being separated completely from law enforcement agencies. But many of us are still civilians in a commissioned world.

DNA, Latent Prints, and Contamination

THE PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE is to clarify practical evidence collection guidelines for the recovery of latent fingerprint and DNA evidence in the field. It is the goal of all of law enforcement to efficiently and effectively collect and preserve evidence for trial. Physical evidence generates the foundation upon which an affirmative prosecution can be generated.

Forensic Light Sources: Four Decades of Detection

DETECTION OF FINGERPRINTS by police began in the late 19th Century. At that time, two methods were in mainstream use—dusting powders and silver nitrate—with iodine fuming a niche and distant third. The processing decisions were relatively few. With notable exceptions, powders were used on nonporous surfaces while silver nitrate was the most sensitive reagent for paper (porous) exhibits. A user would select the powder of preference for each surface encountered, and the color or tone that afforded the best contrast with the substrate.

Quantitative Analysis of Ethanol and Other Drugs

HANDHELD INSTRUMENTS for the determination of ethanol in breath have been used by the police to control sobriety since the early 1970s (Poon et al. 1987). Likewise, instruments suitable for evidential purposes have gone through six generations since the Breathalyzer was invented in 1954 (Wigmore & Langille 2009). The analytical principles for quantitative analysis of ethanol in breath either involve electrochemical oxidation with a fuel-cell sensor or infrared spectrometry; some devices incorporate both technologies (EC and IR) to enhance selectivity for identifying ethanol (Jones 2000). The accuracy and precision of modern breath-alcohol instruments matches that of GC analysis of ethanol in blood.

Tool Kit: Photography and Imaging

Here are a couple items to help with your photography and imaging needs.

Theorem of Uniqueness in Forensic Sciences: A New Approach

FORENSIC SCIENCE requires the concept of uniqueness. For this purpose, it is supposed that a uniqueness theorem should be applicable in forensic sciences. On the basis of fundamental mathematics and physics, one can easily evaluate the theorem of uniqueness in forensic science.


Image Clarification Workflow

A FEW WEEKS AGO, I received a call from Ocean Systems asking if I would like to beta test their newest software—ClearID v2.0 Image Clarification Workflow. The new progam has filters that were designed for use with Adobe’s Photoshop graphics-editing program.