This first episode of the "Forensic Advancement" season of the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Just Science podcasts consists of interviews with John Collins, an instructor and consultant from Critical Victories, and Jay Henry, the laboratory director of the Utah Department of Public Safety, who discuss how crime labs can create environments that are more appealing to the younger generation of professionals, along with the challenges lab directors are facing in retaining personnel.
The central theme of the interview is the importance of lab managers promoting among lab personnel the "soul of the profession." This refers to the cultivation among lab personnel of the sense that they are members of a multidisciplinary team seeking to achieve justice for victims, the innocent, the guilty, and the community. Lab personnel have a part in holding the guilty accountable, protecting the innocent from wrongful conviction, bringing some resolution to victims' demand for justice, and protecting the public by helping to prevent crimes from being repeated. Both Collins and Henry emphasize the role of lab managers in sustaining among lab personnel the importance of their role on a multidisciplinary team of investigators, prosecutors, and victim advocates working to achieve justice and minimize harms caused by crime. Collins and Henry both view this sense of the importance of one's work as a forensic scientist as the mindset that can motivate and retain lab personnel in the face of comparatively low compensation for the knowledge, skill, concentration, and pressure required to do their work.