The purpose of this Technology Transition Workshop is to provide the student with the tools to initiate a FIDO Program in their own jurisdiction.
The efficiency of the entire criminal justice system is impacted by the overwhelming caseload of drug investigations. As a result, many cases fail to be prosecuted in a reasonable timeframe, or are dismissed due to a lack of timely sample analysis. Straightforward possession drug cases comprise a significant percentage of those investigations. Using the FIDO Program model, these types of cases may be handled at the investigative level. Specifically, the FIDO Program affords certified law enforcement officers the capability of providing a preliminary identification of the most commonly encountered drugs of abuse (marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin). Handling these types of cases at the investigative level has the potential to streamline the adjudication process, enable the reduction of backlogged investigations, and allow the efficient use of resources. The goal is to have the certified law enforcement officer provide immediate investigative information, removing the need for extensive laboratory analysis. This leads to facilitation of case adjudication in the preliminary phase, as the field test may factor into obtaining an immediate plea agreement. Cases proceeding to trial would be submitted for complete analysis at the laboratory. The FIDO Program is based on the evaluation of an existing model, operated by the Phoenix Police Department, which has demonstrated a positive impact on the regional criminal justice system, with cost savings and increased efficiency at all levels. The program is comprised of a comprehensive training program, recommended practice guide, and quality assurance system that provides law enforcement personnel with the resources necessary to perform preliminary identification of marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin. The program was designed with sufficient flexibility to enable adaptation based on agency-specific needs and resources. An example of such an adaptation will be presented by the Utah Bureau of Forensic Services. In addition, this workshop will provide instruction in the articulation of legal issues, guidelines for quality assurance, materials for development of training and certification programs, and guidelines for the selection, testing and evaluation of testing materials and emerging technologies. The minimum standards for FIDO programs, including program management issues, officer and trainer selection, recertification, and efficacy assessment will be presented, as well.