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Furthering Understanding of Forensic Units: A Detailed Examination of Louisville Metro Police Dept.'s CSU

Award Information

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Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $32,000)

This study is intended to conduct an in-depth examination of the Crime Scene Unit of the Louisville Metro Police Department in Louisville, KY. No current research exists that fully examines education levels, training occurrence/subject areas, knowledge of traditional/interdisciplinary field methods, standards in the field, relations between officers/civilians, unit culture, and case progressions through the system utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods. Gathering this data will allow for measurement of how this particular unit stands in relation to NIJ recommendations, allowing for the development or refinement of current policies and practices already utilized; in addition, the data will allow for comparison to a previous study on the standards, education, training, and national certification of law enforcement forensic units across the country. Furthermore, exploring and implementing this specific methodology will show its viability in being reproduced in other jurisdictions to further
the knowledge of how forensic investigations are being conducted in the United States.
Participants in this study will be the current officers and civilian employees of the Crime Scene Unit of LMPD. Through a combination of surveying, interviews, and participant observation, this study seeks to discover the current state of education, training, interdisciplinary methods, standards, officer/civilian relations, unit culture, and case progression within this
specific unit. Research will be conducted from October 1st, 2016 to March 1st, 2017, with the final report submission on May 31st, 2017. All data will be gathered while at the Unit building in Downtown Louisville or while accompanying unit members to field investigations. Quantitative analysis will include descriptive statistics for the survey data, as well as structural equation
modeling based on results from factor analysis (exploratory from the new data; confirmatory from the previous nationwide data). An in-depth qualitative analysis focused on patterns and themes for the interview and participant observation data will also be performed. Final reports
will be distributed to the NIJ, LMPD, and submitted to academic conferences and peer-reviewed publications. ca/ncf

Date Created: July 19, 2016