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Human Factors in Latent Print Examination

June 2011

The NIJ-sponsored Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis is clarifying potential sources of error in pattern recognition analysis. It will develop best practices to remove or minimize these sources. NIJ is addressing recommendations in the 2009 National Academy of Sciences' report titled "Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward." Specifically, the panelists focus on recommendation 5, which encourages research programs on human observer bias and sources of human error in forensic examinations.

How Collaboration Between Researchers and Police Chiefs Can Improve the Quality of Sexual Assault Investigations: A Look at Los Angeles

June 2011

Panelists discuss the application of research findings from an NIJ-sponsored study of sexual assault attrition to police practice in Los Angeles. There are three main focal points: (1) the mutual benefits of researcher/practitioner partnerships, (2) the implications of variation in police interpretation of UCR guidelines specific to clearing sexual assault (with an emphasis on cases involving nonstrangers), and (3) the content of specialized training that must be required for patrol officers and detectives who respond to and investigate sex crimes.

Special Technical Committees: How They Are Changing NIJ's Standards Development Process

June 2010

NIJ has established a new standards development process based on Special Technical Committees whose members include practitioners, scientists, researchers, subject matter experts, staff of test laboratories and major criminal justice stakeholder organizations, and representatives knowledgeable in standards development and conformity assessment. The members collaborate to develop the standard and ensure that practitioner needs are addressed.

Protecting our Protectors: Using Science to Improve Officer Safety and Wellness

June 2012

Each year, 100-200 law enforcement officers die in the line of duty. Last year, 177 lost their lives — a 16-percent increase from 2010. As Attorney General Eric Holder noted, this is a devastating and unacceptable trend. NIJ has developed a robust research portfolio to improve officer safety and wellness and, ultimately, save lives. This panel discussed some of NIJ's most promising work to reduce shooting and traffic-related fatalities — consistently the leading causes of officer line-of-duty deaths — and improve officer wellness, which is inextricably linked with officer safety.