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Development and Implementation of Forensic Science Research and Training Programs at the University at Albany's Northeast Regional Forensic Institute (NERFI)

NCJ Number
Date Published
Donald D. Orokos Ph.D., John Hicks MPA, Igor Lednev Ph.D., Ron Stevens, Tomek Strzalkowski Ph.D., Sanjay Goel Ph.D.
This grant funded the University at Albany’s Northeast Regional Forensic Institute’s (NERFI's) exploration of novel concepts in the forensic sciences as well as the development and implementation of various professional development training programs for the criminal justice community.
In one of the funded research projects, near-infrared (NIR) Raman spectroscopy was used to measure spectra of dried human semen samples from multiple donors. Although no single spectrum could effectively represent an experimental Raman spectrum of dry semen in a quantitative way, the combination of the three spectral components could be considered to be a spectroscopic signature for semen. Another funded project evaluated the use, impact, and effectiveness of forensic evidence in the courtroom. The preliminary results indicated that forensic evidence played a critical role in some of the cases and investigations reviewed under this project. In addition, 80 first responders were trained in the proper collection, handling, and storage of biological evidence. Also, funding was used to purchase equipment from Porter-Lee, updating existing technology that maximized the ability of law enforcement investigators to process crime scenes in the most efficient and effective manner, as well as to permit real-time access to uniform evidence inventory and management files by the prosecutor and police. Another project, the ChatMinder project, involved a study of the dialogs that occur in online chat rooms. The technology used is an important advance in automated human-computer communication with potential applications in cross-cultural social modeling, advertising, law enforcement, and national security. Under the grant’s Capitol Region Cyber Crime Partnership project, a suite of tools was used to collect data from open sources, analyze text data, and correlate information from multiple sources, including sexual predator behavior and detecting attacks on the network. NERFI’s Leadership Assessment workshops were attended by forensic scientists from across the United States. 8 figures and approximately 100 references
Date Created: October 5, 2010