ON THE COVER: Vehicles are no different than a crime scene in the field, but the do have the benefit of being processed in a more controlled environment. Investigators should take advantage of this opportunity. Image from Processing Vehicles Used in Violent Crimes for Forensic Evidence by Christopher D. Duncan. Read more in the current issue of ETM.



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Getting DNA from Shell Casings

Getting DNA from spent shell casings has been a difficult, if not impossible, forensic challenge for law enforcement over the years. It was believed the heat from the firearm when a round is shot destroys the DNA. Despite this widespread belief, police continue to submit their casings to be swabbed, often getting minimal results, if any. There comes the point when you begin to think, "Why do I keep doing this when I keep getting the same results?"

How to Collect Evidence of Domestic Violence

As many survivors unfortunately find out, abusive partners are cunning individuals who don’t just abuse the person they’re in a relationship with. They can also abuse the courts and criminal justice systems by attempting to twist the truth, blame the victim, and feign innocence after an arrest. That’s why it is vitally important that a survivor prepare for court hearings equipped with as much evidence of the abuse as possible. In this piece, we’ll outline what types of evidence a survivor can try to assemble and how to do so as safely as possible.

Prioritizing Officer Safety in the Field as Fentanyl Fatalities Rise

Early in my career while working at the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, my biggest concern was illegal production of methamphetamine and working tirelessly to shut down meth labs that continued to pop up across the state. As time passed, I joined the Clandestine Laboratory Response Unit where I’m now focused on new, emerging threats—both seen and invisible to the naked eye. The most terrifying of these is fentanyl, the highly fatal substance that can hide on surfaces and in the air in trace amounts.

New Fingerprint Imaging System Uses AI to Detect Ridge Detail

Could AI-assisted ridge detection be the next big thing in fingerprint examination? Chemical reagents including ninhydrin, 1,8-diazafluoren-9-one (DFO), and 1,2-indandione are in widespread operational use in forensic labs across the globe. Here in the US, many fingerprint experts will use at least one of these processes on daily basis when searching for and revealing fingerprints on items of semi-porous evidence such as paper or card. The method is sound, and the results are consistent—the only problem being the huge amount of time that is spent post-treatment individually examining each item of evidence, diligently marking up and photographing any resulting prints.

However, all of that could be about to change thanks to the development of an exciting new fingerprint technology known as AARI.

Tool Kit

Check out the latest products and services for use at the crime scene, laboratory, and beyond.

Is There a Drug Problem Hiding in Your Property Room?

One of the highest-priority – and often misunderstood – items in a property room is drugs. Agencies need to develop robust policies and procedures to ensure the integrity of drug items in the property room.

Gang Migration to Rural and Suburban Areas

Gangs are continuing to proliferate, and healthcare personnel will encounter their members and associates in a variety of settings. Subsequently, it is critically important to raise awareness, enhance forensic assessment, and maintain facility safety.

Utilizing Medical Illustrations as Demonstrative Aids for Trial

Medical illustration is a multifaceted profession from the anatomical to cellular level, visualizing and communicating complex medical concepts. Here's how a medical illustrator can help transform complex medical information into visual images.

Processing Vehicles for Unique Types of Evidence

Vehicles are no different than a crime scene in the field, but they do have the benefit of being processed in a more controlled environment. Investigators should take advantage of this opportunity.

Three Days of Digital Forensics Learning at PFIC

Learning the tips and tricks of the digital forensic investigative field can be a full-time job. So there is no better opportunity than to take advantage of excellent training options with industry experts all in one location. That is where the PFIC event comes in to help.

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.

Woman Identified Through Genetic Genealogy After Almost 55 Years

January 20, 2021—A young woman’s identity was brought to light this week, almost 55 years after she was found drowned in Pecos, Texas motel swimming pool. The case came together through DNA technology, genetic genealogy, community support, and teamwork.

UW-Platteville Criminal Justice Program Recognized as Top in Country

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville's reputation as a leader in distance education has been recognized again, as Online School Report noted the criminal justice program as one of the Best Online Master's Degrees in Criminal Justice in the country.

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.


Lifting Latent Fingerprints from Difficult Surfaces

ALMOST ANYONE can find, process, and lift a latent print that happens to be in a logical and obvious place like a door handle, a beer can, or a butcher knife. But sometimes, a latent print is not just sitting there in a logical and obvious place. Sometimes, you have to use your imagination to find the print and your skills to lift it.