This "Just Science" podcast consists of an interview with Jody Wolf, the Assistant Crime Lab Administrator at the Phoenix Police Department Laboratory Services Bureau, who discusses how her background and interests led her to focus on how a crime lab is structured to play an important role in developing a more efficient and effective criminal justice system.
In addition to her degrees in scientific forensic sciences, Wolf has a masters in business administration. Her initial plan was to become a medical doctor, but finally entered higher education as a chemistry major. She early recognized, however, that her skills gave her the most satisfaction when managing scientific enterprises. In Phoenix, she received assignments related to improving the structuring of forensic lab activities. One of her management responsibilities was to structure the processing of pieces of evidence that require multiple types of forensic analysis. She describes the process developed. Each case is initially examined in consultation with crime investigators and prosecutors in determining the nature and priority of the forensic analysis of the evidence collected in a given case. She also discusses how federal grants have facilitated revisions in the management of sexual assault kits. Evaluations are regularly conducted to examine whether existing lab processes could be improved to make evidence analysis more efficient and effective. One result has been reductions in turn-around time for evidence analysis. Structures for the analysis of particular types of evidence are briefly discussed, including rapid DNA work.