Presentation on theme: "Presentation to the National Commission on Forensic Sciences October 2014 Erica L. Smith Chief, Law Enforcement Statistics Unit Bureau of Justice Statistics."— Presentation transcript:
Presentation to the National Commission on Forensic Sciences October 2014 Erica L. Smith Chief, Law Enforcement Statistics Unit Bureau of Justice Statistics
Controlled substances Toxicology Trace evidence Firearms/toolmarks Forensic biology Criminal casework Convicted offender samples Arrestee samples Latent prints Digital evidence Questioned documents Impressions Crime scene Other functions Types of forensic functions performed
Quality assurances Lab accreditations Proficiency testing Resources dedicated to research External certifications possessed by analysts Written standards for performance expectations
“…direct the Bureau of Justice Statistics to create a proposal for the development of a nationally representative survey to determine forensic capabilities for those who write reports and offer testimony within federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies and for medical examiner and coroner offices. The survey instrument should be developed in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders organizations...”
Measures to be addressed: 1. Types of forensic services provided; 2. Agency policies and procedures related to forensic evidence and processing, including certification and/or accreditation; 3. Staffing for forensic services and related functions; 4. Testimony in legal proceedings, including: a. Depositions; b. Interrogatories; c. Reports/analysis to the court; d. Sworn testimony in court.
Option 1: Utilize newly developed sample- based data collection vehicle a. Will yield results more quickly; b. Provides a broad understanding of the issues; c. Not suited to a detailed examination of the component topics. Expected timeframe for completion: December 2015* (contingent; subject to change)
The system is designed to: Conduct ongoing data collection from a nationally representative sample of law enforcement agencies; Field surveys that are short (approximately 30 questions; burden of 20 minutes or less) and provide findings within 6 months of initial survey administration; Collect and distribute information through an interactive website.
Option 2: Employ a 2-stage survey design methodology a. Establishes a set of measures on which to stratify agencies for the 2 nd stage survey; b. Can address concepts more comprehensively; c. Requires significantly greater resources to field, including additional funding; d. Results would not be realized for several years. Expected timeframe for completion: December 2018* (contingent; subject to change)
2-stage design: 1. Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies (LE Census) – survey of all 20,000+ LE agencies in the United States Include 1 – 3 targeted questions to provide additional measures on which to stratify the sample of LEAs in the 2 nd stage survey 2. Law Enforcement Agency Forensic Services Survey (LEAFSS) – sample based survey format Stand-alone survey would ask questions specific to the various measures of importance to the NCFS
1. What is the goal of a survey of LEAs and the forensic services in which they engage? Enumeration of agencies providing services of any type? Of a specific type or types? Types of services in which LEAs engage? Does frequency matter? Establishing knowledge base regarding accreditation and/or certification? Establishing guidelines for those who write reports and offer testimony about forensic services in court?
2. What information is needed to assess the impact of establishing accreditation and/or certification standards for LEAs? Backlogs; Cost to agencies; Amount of staff time that would be devoted to the cert/accred process; Other information to help determine if processing burden will be shifted to state or other labs
Matthew R. Durose Senior Statistician Bureau of Justice Statistics Matt.Durose@usdoj.gov (202) 307-6119 Erica L. Smith Chief, Law Enforcement Statistics Unit Bureau of Justice Statistics Erica.L.Smith@usdoj.gov (202) 616-3491