This sixth episode of the Forensic Advancement season in the NIJ-funded Just Science series of podcasts consists of an interview with Ben Swanholm, the Evidence Screening Section Supervisor at the Phoenix Police Department, who discusses millennials and their future role in the forensic sciences.
In profiling millenials and their expectations within the forensic science field, the interview addresses technological growth, social identity, and generational values. The interview notes that as millenials seek fulfillment in the current socioeconomic climate, they are confronted with rapidly evolving and changing technology and associated employment standards. This is both a benefit and a frustration within the field of forensic science. The benefit is that millennials are motivated to meet higher formal educational standards to increase their employment and vocational advancement options. They are also aware that technology and the findings of scientific research are constantly changing. On the other hand, forensic science is concerned with standardization in the interest of quality control, accuracy, and efficiency, which means that change may not occur as rapidly as millennial employees may prefer. The management of forensic scientists, therefore, requires both a search for and acceptance of the findings of new research, along with the slower evolution of standards that ensure accuracy and consistency in how new research findings are applied and used in the criminal justice system.