Friday, January 25, 2008

A Sneak Peak at Spring Training

One of the benefits of belonging to a professional science organization is the ability to attend conferences. I can’t always make the national conventions but there is one I go to every year without fail. Our regional division of the International Association for Identification puts on a spring training presentation and workshop for its Arkansas forensic science and law enforcement members.

I thought you might like an honorary pass for a sneak peak into what we do at a smaller division conference. First of all, why is it important to have these meetings and better still, to attend regularly? I think it’s insightful to establish relationships and camaraderie with other criminal justice co-workers, even if they are not in the same department. For example, law enforcement officers often bring evidence to the crime lab, but it’s also essential that they learn how to process and package the artifacts, as well as to understand what is done with the evidence and how best to prepare it.

Another good reason to meet with colleagues in a professional setting is that so much forensic science crime scene information is presented on TV today, wrapped up in crime drama, that criminal are also watching these programs and are students soaking up tips on how to improve their trade. Police often tell me they see evidence of clean up at crime scenes and there are other instances of further education. It just makes sense that workers in the criminal justice system need to stay current with technology and techniques to continually improve skills and equipment. Classes on new tools and methods are a large part of our training programs and become our hedge against the free criminal information that is disbursed.

I won’t be able to tell you about all the sessions that were available, but a few of the topics discussed at our training conference in Little Rock were: the basics of fingerprint analysis and learning how to do it hands-on—with a magnifying glass, ten print cards and samples for a quiz (I got an “A”)! behavioral profiling of serial rapists, on scene interpretation of physical evidence, about testifying in court, a double homicide case and many other topics.

One session I’d like to tell you about was both informative and fun. We often have vendors, independent businesses that bring new tools or machines in for demonstration just as a sales representative would exhibit their new line at a conference. This particular product was brought in from Arrowhead Forensics and it’s called a Coherent TracER™.

You know how on television the CSIs are always use alternative light to look for traces of blood, semen or body fluids? Well, this Tracer is a battery-powered, and portable forensic laser system specifically designed for the rigors of modern criminology and forensics. A system. It can be used to locate fingerprints, fibers, body fluids, bone fragments, tooth chips, narcotics’ residue, and a variety of other types of trace evidence, even in high ambient light.

We got the opportunity to examine artifacts in a dimly lit hotel room and it works beautifully, the most effective of all the lights currently used. And just to show that we are not without a sense of humor. We examined the bedding, the walls and the bathroom under this light. I’m here to tell you that in the future when you travel, take your own pillow, sheets, and wipes to clean the bathroom.

Thanks for the read.

1 comment:

SIFS INDIA said...

An Informative article..Thanks for sharing..