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To say that developments in “Rapid DNA” have been progressing quickly is an understatement. From a front page USA Today article headline reading “Rapid DNA Test Could Transform Crime Fight”, to its first use in a criminal prosecution and, most importantly

"Rapid" Progess

July 23, 2014 | by Chris Asplen | Comments

To say that developments in “Rapid DNA” have been progressing quickly is an understatement. From a front page USA Today article headline reading “Rapid DNA Test Could Transform Crime Fight”, to its first use in a criminal prosecution and, most importantly, approval from the FBI to upload reference profiles to the NDIS, the moniker “Rapid” applies more to its rate of implementation than to its DNA analysis time.

 

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Glove Protection

July 18, 2014 8:38 am | Comments

Gloves are, of course, important for protecting evidence because they keep you from leaving your own fingerprints behind. They also offer you protection from blood and other substances at the scene.               

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Keeping House

July 15, 2014 8:34 am | Comments

Many injuries arise from poor housekeeping. Slips, trips, and falls are all too common yet easily avoided. Begin with organizing the storage areas. First, do not create hazards with your material storage. Stack and interlock boxes, containers, and other items that are stored in tiers.

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Knock! Knock!

July 9, 2014 8:51 am | by Vince McLeod, CIH | Comments

Good forensic lab managers know why we should conduct periodic laboratory safety audits or inspections. But, do you give much thought to how they should be done? Or, when is the best time? Or, what you should be looking for? This Safety Guy’s column will answer all these questions and step you through a meaningful laboratory safety survey. Our intent is to stimulate you to set up and implement a successful program.  

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Be Open to Complaints

July 8, 2014 8:56 am | Comments

All managers will receive complaints, but not all managers will receive them the same way. To some, most complaints seem trivial and to come “ out of nowhere” or “off the wall.” But since it probably took a great deal of courage for the employee to complain to you, even though it seems petty, it should be taken seriously and treated respectfully. 

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Avoid Shocking Electrical Hazards

July 1, 2014 8:34 am | Comments

While performing your facility inspection keep an eye out for electrical hazards. Frequently found problems include improper use of extension cords or cords with cut, torn, or frayed insulation, exposed wiring, missing grounding plugs, open electrical panels, and over-loaded circuits.

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Collecting impression evidence is definitely worth the effort—once you do so, you have duplicate evidence that can help make your case.

Duplicating Impression Evidence

June 27, 2014 8:38 am | Comments

When you’re called to a crime scene, you never know what you’re going to find. But no matter the scene, it’s important to recover as much evidence as possible. Sometimes we get so caught up in looking for DNA and other obvious evidence that we overlook other evidence that can be just as important. Collecting impression evidence is definitely worth the effort — once you do so, you have duplicate evidence that can help make your case.

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Crime Scene Investigator: Certification

June 25, 2014 10:52 am | by Dick Warrington | Lynn Peavey Company | Comments

I recently interviewed Lt. Owen McDonnell of the Caddo Sheriff’s Office, Crime Scene Investigations Division, an expert in the field, to get his perspective on CSI certification. Certification in any field gives you more credibility and professionalism in court, provided the certification program is independent and reputable. Prosecution and defense attorneys look for the credentials of the individual and the certifying body. 

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Handle with Care: Basic Autoclave Safety Program

June 25, 2014 10:42 am | by Vince McLeod, CIH | Comments

Autoclaves are such a common and familiar piece of lab equipment that it is easy to overlook the associated hazards. If we do not think about what might go wrong, sooner or later we will get burned. By following our simple three step program of training; testing/monitoring/maintenance; and record keeping, you can avoid mishaps and potential significant damage or injury.

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Forensic Facilities POTential

June 25, 2014 10:33 am | by Jinhee Lee and Ken Mohr | Crime Lab Design | Comments

With recreational and/or medical marijuana now legal in 21 states and the District of Columbia as of April 21, 2014, according to CNN US, one might wonder if forensic facilities can begin to scale back resources dedicated to the drug’s testing and storage. We believe that this may not be the case.

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Solid State Drives: Part 6

June 25, 2014 8:29 am | by John J. Barbara | Digital Forensics Consulting, LLC | Comments

When compared to a typical hard drive, SSDs are totally different in design and functionality which leads to some difficult issues to deal with pertaining to their forensic analysis. The SSD’s use of flash memory for data storage rather than rotating magnetic discs is the cause of the forensic issues.

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Don’t Let This Be You

June 25, 2014 6:05 am | by Chris Asplen | Comments

The sooner every municipality and jurisdiction takes ownership of its own backlog issue and dedicates the appropriate amount of resources to get kits tested, the sooner they can stop worrying about whether some very smart lawyers are going to find a way hold them responsible. 

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Solid State Drives: Part 7

June 25, 2014 5:55 am | by John J. Barbara | Digital Forensics Consulting, LLC | Comments

SSDs have been in use since the 1950s. When compared to a conventional HDD, they are totally different in architecture and functionality. These differences offer many advantages such as no moving parts, having low random access times, and being shock and vibration resistant. However, their architecture and functionality creates some difficult issues to deal with pertaining to their forensic analysis. 

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Old Techniques, New Tricks

June 25, 2014 5:49 am | by Rebecca Waters | Comments

We often focus on the need to learn about emerging technologies and educate ourselves on new methods and skills, but sometimes what we really need are new ways of looking at—and applying—old tools and techniques. This issue presents some ideas along these lines.  

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Applying AFIS Case by Case

June 25, 2014 5:44 am | by Carey Hall and Teresa Wu | 3M Cogent, Inc. | Comments

A typical AFIS deals with pre-defined print card formats and rigid parameters, a new “Case AFIS” approach is flexible in dealing with ad-hoc ink cards, uncontrolled capture areas, poor quality prints, and other obstacles.  

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Gunshot Residue Collection: The Decisions that Make or Break a Case

June 25, 2014 5:38 am | by Julia Patterson | RJ Lee Group, Inc. | Comments

Gunshot residue (GSR) analysis can be a critical piece of evidence in criminal investigations, but over the last several years many government laboratories have discontinued GSR analysis due to a lack of funding or re-prioritization. By understanding the science behind GSR and what can be learned from its analysis, investigators can make informed decisions regarding the collection of gunshot residue evidence.  

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