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Role of Crime-Scene Personnel When Responding to Scenes of Mass Disaster

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2006
5 pages

In an interview with Dr. John S. Morgan the National Institute of Justice’s Assistant Director for Science and Technology, the role that NIJ serves and plays in the field of disaster response is discussed.


Disaster response has always been an important role for government agencies at all levels. But, since September 11, 2001, there has been an increased emphasis across the country on response readiness. One Federal agency that has been actively working to help responders prepare for the range of potential disasters is the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice (NIJ). NIJ has a number of programs is the area of disaster response. The Evidence Technology Magazine recently interviewed John S. Morgan, Assistant Director for Science and Technology at NIJ on NIJ’s involvement in the response by State and local law enforcement to mass-causality situations. This paper presents the question-answer interview. Some of the key points identified in the interview include (1) NIJ’s formation of the Kinship and Data Analysis Panel to provide assurance to the victims’ families and to the public; (2) the development of a printed guide for human identification, entitled Mass Fatality Incidents, containing basic information that law enforcement agencies should be familiar with concerning mass-disaster response; (3) NIJ’s recommendation that all human remains, personal effects, and other items be considered as evidence when they are recovered; and (4) the most important thing an agency can do in planning a response to a mass-disaster is communication, proper communication among all parts of the local government.

Date Published: February 1, 2006