This first episode of the Identification season of the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Just Science podcast series consists of an interview with Lesley Hammer - former president of the International Association for Identification (IAI) and the current Chair of the Education Committee of the IAI - who discusses pattern and impression evidence collection and the future of IAI.
The introductory phase of the interview focuses on Ms. Hammer's professional background in working with footwear and tire-track impressions, as well as the role of the IAI in improving the awareness and quality of identifications through footwear impressions left at crime scenes. IAI structures education and training for forensic analysts involved with evidence that leads to the identification of suspects. Regarding the recording of footwear impression, attention is given to the protection and search of the crime scene, which requires that investigators be trained in the recognition, protection, and reliable recording of impressions at the crime scene. Those who attempt to make identifications through footwear are advised to look for repeatable pattern characteristics that are not likely to change with the wearing of the shoes within a realistic period after the crime. Also discussed are the development of databases for footwear impressions that allow for matches among crime scenes, as well as the features of the use and management of crime-scene footwear impressions in the United Kingdom, which is deemed to have one of the more advanced systems for such evidence.