This third episode of the forensic advancement season of the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Just Science podcast series consists of an interview with Dr. Paul Speaker, a member of the West Virginia University Finance Department regarding the jurisdictional return on investment for DNA databases, with attention to the assistance that can be provided to crime labs by FORESIGHT, which supplies both a motivational and economical argument for testing all sexual assault kits.
Dr. Speaker is also the Chief Executive of Forensic Science Management Consultants LLC, a firm that specializes in management of forensic science as a business. The interview focuses on how cost-benefit analysis can be applied to the management of forensic laboratories. Dr. Speaker discusses the importance of managing a crime laboratory from a cost-benefit perspective that gives priority to funding for those operations that yield the greatest benefit as measured by their impact on public safety. The FORESIGHT database and services, which operates out of the Financial Department of West Virginia University under NIJ funding contains data and guidance from all sizes and types of crime laboratories regarding the cost-benefit analysis of various laboratory operations. FORESIGHT has shown that the testing of sexal assault kits yields great benefits for public safety and sexual assault victims for the resources invested. Issues discussed in this interview are whether all sexual assault kits should be tested or be prioritized for testing according to case characteristics.