Forensic facilities and the operations they house, both Medical Examiners and Crime Laboratories, are important components of a community’s infrastructure. Natural disasters have the potential to cripple or destroy the buildings that support these operations. Making sure that forensic buildings operate through or are quickly available after an event is resiliency.
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.
Paying attention to details can make all the difference in your case. Be careful to avoid short cuts or inexpensive options that end up costing you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Your business doesn’t run itself. The quality of your organization depends on the quality of your team — a motivated, energized staff is the key to companywide success. You want A Players, those colleagues who contribute disproportionately to the advancement and profitability of the organization.
At a crime scene involving arson, proceed like it’s any other scene: find and collect any evidence that could possibly be relevant.
In order to effectively investigate crimes involving social media, it is imperative that law enforcement understand “how” social media is stored, “where” such information is stored and found, and “how” to obtain such information using forensically sound procedures. Social media requires a different mind-set to traditional investigative and current forensic methodologies.