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October/November 2013OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013 DIGITAL EDITION

Features:

Forensic Inspection for Firearms: Comparison Techniques in Optical Profilometry
By Cristina Cadevall and Niels Schwarz 
In an effort to move the comparison to a more technically reliable validation basis, researchers at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences (ADFS) have developed a method for comparing land impressions. The measurement system used in the investigation was an optical profilometry system.

Scratching the Surface of Paper Currency with FT-IR Microscopy
By Forrest Weesner, Ph.D. 
Questioned document specialists use a wide array of analytical techniques to assist in their investigations ranging from first-line visual inspection tools to advanced chemical-specific analysis instrumentation. Visible light microscopy techniques are well suited for characterizing the printing techniques of individual characters and to look for evidence of alteration.

Reviewing and Comprehending Autopsy Reports
By Dean A. Beers, CLI, CCDI and Karen S. Beers, BSW, CCDI 
Understanding the value of the autopsy report and the information accompanying it is a valuable asset to all investigators.  In order to understand the importance of the autopsy report, and how to interpret it, you should understand how other factors influence the report and why you cannot rely on the autopsy report alone.

Under the Microscope: Laboratory Accreditation Standards and Their Impact on Your Building Project
By Susan Halla 
This article will examine the impact of the two largest accreditation programs—ASCLD/LAB International for the accreditation of forensic laboratories and the NAME Inspection and Accreditation Checklist for coroner and medical examiner facilities. If you are not currently accredited or are planning a new facility, this will help to address matters to communicate with your design team in order to design with accreditation in mind.

Columns:

Crime Scene Documentation: The Death Scene Checklist
By Dick Warrington
Keeping a checklist reminds you to look at everything. It’s insurance that even if you get distracted, you’ll go back and finish the job. You’ll be glad you did it if your case goes to court and you’re questioned about the crime scene.

Rape Kit Backlogs: Coming or Going?
By Chris Asplen
For the first time in its history the Houston crime lab does not have a backlog of sexual assault kits. Thanks to a combination of federal and city funding and a private partner laboratory, 6,600 rape kits have been processed and no longer sit on shelves. Now here’s the scary part. The authorization for Debbie Smith comes to an end next year at a time when it is at the greatest risk of deep cuts in federal funding for backlog elimination.

Solid State Drives: Part 3
By John J. Barbara
Understand the architecture of a typical Flash Memory Controller. The Flash File System is firmware designed specifically to enable files to be stored in flash memory with each sub-layer performing a specific function. Typical functions include wear-leveling, garbage collection, bad block management, error checking and correction, over-provisioning, reading and writing, erasing, and encryption.

Awareness All Around
By Vince McLeod, CIH
Forensic laboratories are challenging places to work. This month the Safety Guys alert you to significant physical hazards potentially present in your workplace. What do we mean when we say “physical hazards?” This includes conditions and situations that might lead to slips, trips, and falls as well as the not so obvious hazards such as electrical safety hazards and high noise areas.

 
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