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Impact of Research and Development on Lab Efficiency and Operations

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2017
2 pages
This 4-minute, animated video and accompanying transcript illustrate how research and development in forensic technologies impacts crime lab efficiency and operations.
The video opens with an introduction to Steve, a crime lab scientist, who processes evidence for police departments in the area. The volume of evidence he receives has increased due to advanced technology that has made it easier to detect and collect evidence at a crime scene. Steve is unable to keep up with the demand. In addition to the analysis of evidence from current cases, he must analyze older evidence submitted by "cold-case" detectives. Steve attended a Technology Working Group meeting sponsored by the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ), where he shared with his forensic science peers his challenge in meeting caseload demand. NIJ considers Steve's issue as a priority area for the forensic science community, and they include it with other issues in an open solicitation for research. The video then introduces Jane, a researcher looking for her next research project. She writes a research proposal that addresses Steve's challenges. Her proposal is recommended for funding. Jane completes her research, which creates a new method of processing evidence that will revolutionize how evidence is analyzed. After attending a workshop facilitated by Jane, Steve is excited about putting into action the new methods Jane developed. Using them, he effectively reduces the backlog of evidence, which enables him to process evidence soon after it is brought to the lab.

Date Published: November 1, 2017