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Forensic Sciences: Review of Status and Needs

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 1999
71 pages
Because the work of forensic laboratories is varied and complex and forensic laboratories must stay abreast of and have access to the latest technology and methods, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors held a joint workshop in 1997 to examine the current status and needs of forensic laboratories.
The workshop focused on the needs of forensic laboratories in the areas of training, technology transfer, research methods, development, testing, evaluation, and analytical services. Workshop participants determined there must be a true partnership between State and local forensic laboratories and national forensic laboratories for technology transfer to be successful. Existing strengths that are fragmented and dispersed need to be consolidated, and development work performed in national forensic laboratories needs to be made available to the entire forensic community. The key is to identify technology currently in use or under development at national facilities that can be transferred for use in the forensic field. Areas of technology at national laboratories that can be applied to the forensic community include robotics, remote sensors, supercomputers for computational power, and satellite communications. Budgetary and cost-effectiveness concerns in the field of forensic science are discussed.

Date Published: February 1, 1999