ON THE COVER: What happens when crime scene evidence taken from biohazardous conditions is taken back to the digital forensic lab for processing? Read more in the current issue of ETM.



Read the April 2021 Issue online now!

Check out the 2021 Evidence Resource Guide

View Past Issues

Shots Fired: When a Picture is Not Worth a Thousand Words

WE HAVE ALL HEARD THAT SAYING: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In the field of forensic video and image analysis, that adage is certainly applicable. The increase in storage space, speed of processors, and improved technology has resulted in an increase in quality video in many of our law enforcement investigations, including 4K-resolution footage. The quality of images produced from this evidence can often solve cases that would have been useless in the past. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth tens of thousands… unless it is the video of a shooting.

Determining Forensic Significance

LET’S SAY THAT SOMEONE ON A HIKE finds a bone and brings it to a police officer. Perhaps not long before, a jogger went missing in the same area, and everyone is on heightened alert to look for the remains and body. Any bones found in the vicinity may be collected and are assumed to belong to the missing.

Tool Kit

Check into Tool Kit to find products and services for the crime scene, forensic lab, and beyond.

Dealing with Contaminated Digital Devices

Could evidence collected on crime scenes be biohazardous to the teams processing the evidence?

Alternate Light Source Technology in the Detection of Evidence and Injury

A VICTIM CALLS 911 with a domestic complaint involving assault and strangulation. Law enforcement personnel arrive but see no visible injury to either party and no arrest is made. The victim transports herself to a local hospital where she is discharged in stable condition, having no neck CT as no injuries were noted.

Fire Departments and Investigators Increase Use of Drone Technology

FIRE DEPARTMENTS ARE WAKING UP to the advantages of using drones to aid in their dangerous work. Drone technology and imagery offers a literal overall view at the scene of an active fire and, increasingly, in the investigation that follows. Firefighting professionals have continued to realize the important role that even consumer-level unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) can play in their always-changing field.

Investigating Bodies in Submerged Vehicles

SUBMERGED VEHICLES can be present in any jurisdiction possessing waterways for a multitude of reasons. On occasion, vehicles are submerged to conceal the vehicle itself or the evidence inside. Suicidal individuals drive vehicles into lakes and rivers as a means to end their lives. In this instance, the vehicle upon recovery may have the driver contained inside (Figure 1).

Reheating Cold Cases

How investigative genetic genealogy helps law enforcement agencies find possible suspects in murders, rapes, and infanticides from many years ago.

Announcing ISHI 32: Attend In-Person or Virtually!

The 32nd International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI 32) will be held this September at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida. Long-time conference attendees might remember that Coronado Springs Resort played host to ISHI 10 in the way back year of 1999.

Tool Kit: Showcase for Forensic Products

Browse all 19 products in this edition of Tool Kit.

What is Trauma Informed Care?

TRAUMA-INFORMED CARE has become a popular term that is commonly referenced today in a myriad of systems, such as schools, substance use treatment, health care and behavioral health. Yet its application into practice has much variability.

How Digital Technology is Transforming Policing in the Future

ADVANCEMENTS IN DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES have changed our lives forever. Today we can access practically any digital services we want—e-mails, text messages, photos, videos, apps, and more—with just a few keystrokes, almost anywhere, anytime.

Solving Shootings. Building Trust.

A BLOGGER NAMED RAY GUIDETTI recently posted an article entitled: “Foiling a Cops & Lobsters Perception: Through Technology, Transparency & Trust”. Guidetti, a former state trooper, now works as a public safety change agent at Motorola Solutions. He retired a couple years back from the New Jersey State Police as the Deputy Superintendent of Investigations. He remains a true friend of law enforcement and believes, as many others do, that it takes a balance of people, processes, and technology to sustain an effective, intelligence-led policing effort (Gagliardi 2019).

Top 10 Resolutions for Evidence Managers

IT'S THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR: the time when people like to make resolutions. It’s easy at the very beginning. We’re all excited… and then, all of a sudden, something happens and we get into the third, fourth, and fifth day of the new year and life kicks in. Soon, you find yourself saying, I can’t believe it's been a year since I didn't become a better person.

How 3D Laser Scanning Systems are Changing Crime Scene Documentation

WHEN IT COMES TO RECORDING A CRIME SCENE, most reconstruction experts would agree that it just takes a significant amount of time. This is a primary reason why so many law enforcement agencies and private reconstruction firms have turned within the past several years to using 3D scene capture technologies. The predominant and highly popular solution is the LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), which is also commonly referred to as a 3D laser scanner or terrestrial scanner.


New Books

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Most forensic disciplines attempt to determine the “who” of a crime. But bloodstain pattern analysis focuses on the “what happened” part of a crime. This book is the third edition of Blood-stain Pattern Analysis. The authors explore the topic in depth, explaining what it is, how it is used, and the practical methodologies that are employed to achieve defensible results. It offers practical, common-sense advice and tips for both novices and professionals.