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It has now reached the point that it is no longer practical for an examiner to forensically analyze each and every piece of evidence. Depending upon the alleged crime, often the incriminating evidence can be found in an e-mail, a document, the browser his

Streamlining the Digital Forensic Workflow: Part 1

October 15, 2014 8:51 am | by John J. Barbara | Comments

It has now reached the point that it is no longer practical for an examiner to forensically analyze each and every piece of evidence. Depending upon the alleged crime, often the incriminating evidence can be found in an e-mail, a document, the browser history, an SMS, or some other source. This leads to the obvious conclusion that examiners are going to need a new approach to streamline their workflow.

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When patrol officers and/or first responders arrive at the scene, they should look for dust footprints by taking a flashlight and rolling it along the floor. If they simply shine it into the room from a standing position, they’re likely to miss the prints

Look for Dust Footprints

October 10, 2014 8:35 am | Comments

When patrol officers and/or first responders arrive at the scene, they should look for dust footprints by taking a flashlight and rolling it along the floor. If they simply shine it into the room from a standing position, they’re likely to miss the prints. When they find prints, they should mark them with plastic or disposable tent markers.  

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A manager’s procrastination tendency raises its ugly head, commonly, when planning for a new project. “Paralysis by analysis” becomes the mode of operation—or non operation. As a manager, your job is to get things done. Don't let procrastination keep you

Don't Put Off Avoiding Procrastination

October 6, 2014 4:38 pm | Comments

A manager’s procrastination tendency raises its ugly head, commonly, when planning for a new project. “Paralysis by analysis” becomes the mode of operation—or non operation. As a manager, your job is to get things done. Don't let procrastination keep you from getting there. If you think that procrastination is a problem for you, you have to deal with it.

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Before you step under the tape, stop and study the tracks going into and out of the crime scene. Compare tracks to the tread pattern of those at the scene, and take care not to damage any tracks on your way in.

Before You Enter a Crime Scene, Check for Tracks

October 3, 2014 8:43 am | Comments

Before you step under the tape, stop and study the tracks going into and out of the crime scene. Compare tracks to the tread pattern of those at the scene, and take care not to damage any tracks on your way in.           

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Biohazard Control

September 30, 2014 5:36 pm | by Vince McLeod, CIH | Comments

Working in forensic sciences will invariably bring you into potential contact with infectious agents. The foundation for safe performance of duties and proper containment is an effective exposure control plan. This article discusses the basic elements of a comprehensive exposure control plan, what each element should contain, and tips on successful implementation.

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Equipment Changes Drive Changes in Facility Design

September 30, 2014 5:25 pm | by Cy Henningsen | Crime Lab Design | Comments

Laboratory equipment is one of the drivers of the design of a forensic facility. In this article I will review a few pieces of equipment which have changed over time and how lab design has been adapted to meet those changes. I will review a change in the equipment used to compare and analyze firearms evidence, genetic analyzers used in DNA analysis, and a piece of equipment which tests toxicology samples.

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Streamlining the Digital Forensic Workflow: Part 2

September 30, 2014 5:18 pm | by John J. Barbara | Digital Forensics Consulting, LLC | Comments

Often an examiner will analyze all the digital media only to determine that the probative data was limited to a browser’s history file, an e-mail, a document, the mobile devices’ logs, or an inappropriate graphic video or picture. Finding the critical probative data faster in a cost effective manner while reducing or eliminating case backlogs is going to require a more efficient methodology.

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Recently I was training a group of investigators at a large law enforcement agency on wet-vacuum forensic DNA collection. Over the course of our conversation, I learned there were a couple of people who were not overly enthusiastic about introducing a new

When More Expensive Costs Less

September 30, 2014 5:14 pm | by Jared Bradley | Comments

Recently I was training a group of investigators at a large law enforcement agency on wet-vacuum forensic DNA collection. Over the course of our conversation, I learned there were a couple of people who were not overly enthusiastic about introducing a new collection method to the cases. This hesitancy from some didn’t surprise me, but it did get me thinking about how to address it.

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Clandestine Drug Labs Present Significant Hazards

September 29, 2014 8:00 pm | Comments

Due to the chemicals used to make the drugs and the wastes generated during the “cooking,” clandestine laboratories present significant safety and health risks to law enforcement, forensic scientists, and the public. When a clandestine drug lab is discovered there is a basic three stage approach to move from seizure to a fully restored site.

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Essential Equipment

September 25, 2014 5:02 pm | Comments

You can make your job more manageable by paying attention to the fundamentals. One of the most important things you can do is determine the equipment that is essential to your job. As you gain experience and expertise, the list of equipment will certainly grow and include more specialized items.

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Most of us know you should attempt to develop latent prints as soon as possible. When latent prints are deposited on a surface, nearly 99% of the print is composed of water. The water begins to evaporate and the print dries out. For this reason, it is ess

Processing For Latent Prints: Looking To Patrol For Help

September 24, 2014 8:55 am | by Detective William Oakley | Comments

Most of us know you should attempt to develop latent prints as soon as possible. When latent prints are deposited on a surface, nearly 99% of the print is composed of water. The water begins to evaporate and the print dries out. For this reason, it is essential to have first responding officers trained in the development of latent prints when no one else is available.

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Hazards of UV do not distinguish between work and home, and in addition to sunlight, UV light sources are found in the workplace including labs, mechanical rooms, and shops. Sources include some biosafety cabinets, certain types of hand-held light sources

Indoor UV Exposure

September 23, 2014 11:54 am | Comments

Hazards of UV do not distinguish between work and home, and in addition to sunlight, UV light sources are found in the workplace including labs, mechanical rooms, and shops. Sources include some biosafety cabinets, certain types of hand-held light sources, transilluminators, crosslinkers, and some laboratory instruments such as spectrophotometers.

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Clearly, finding and collecting as much evidence as possible is key. But in doing so, it’s all too easy to contaminate the results. How can we avoid contamination?

Crime Scene Glove Trick

September 19, 2014 10:19 am | Comments

Clearly, finding and collecting as much evidence as possible is key. But in doing so, it’s all too easy to contaminate the results. How can we avoid contamination?                         

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Determination of Blood Alcohol Content has been a standard analytical method in criminal labs for many years. Recently, however, additional compound identification provided by matching the ethanol mass spectrum to a library spectrum, in addition to RT, ha

Analysis of Blood Alcohol by Headspace with Simultaneous GC-FID and MS Detection

September 17, 2014 8:34 am | by Zhuangzhi “Max” Wang, Ph.D.; Richard R. Whitney, Ph.D.; Nicole M. Lock; Laura Chambers | Comments

Determination of Blood Alcohol Content has been a standard analytical method in criminal labs for many years. Recently, however, additional compound identification provided by matching the ethanol mass spectrum to a library spectrum, in addition to RT, has proven to offer an additional level of confirmation. This article describes BAC analysis using a GC-FID in parallel with a mass spectrometer for positive compound identification.

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Typically, managers dread having to perform employee assessments and experience high anxiety anticipating them. For the employee, too, who is about to undergo a formal performance assessment, the procedure is a high-anxiety producer. So what typically hap

Performance Assessment Revisited

September 16, 2014 8:56 am | Comments

Typically, managers dread having to perform employee assessments and experience high anxiety anticipating them. For the employee, too, who is about to undergo a formal performance assessment, the procedure is a high-anxiety producer. So what typically happens is that two very nervous people get together, try to act calm, and just “get through it.”

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