Wednesday, February 3, 2010

California Review of Forensic Science Complete

From Forensic Magazine:

"The California Crime Laboratory Review Task Force has released An Examination of Forensic Science in California, including its observations and recommendations for crime labs in the state.

California enacted legislation in October 2007 to review the state’s crime laboratory system with a mandate to the Department of Justice to create and chair the California Crime Laboratory Review Task Force.

The Task Force held monthly meetings from December 2007 through September 2009, in which members heard presentations from various organizations and individuals with expertise in crime laboratory oversight, ethics, and management; accreditation and certification; and forensic education and training. The Task Force also drafted a 19-page survey that was sent to each of the major crime labs operated by state, county, or local agencies for their input.

Based on the results of these efforts, the Task Force prepared their report, An Examination of Forensic Science in California, with two goals in mind. First, to provide an accurate snapshot of the current condition of government-funded forensic science in California, including descriptions and explanations of both successful and failed delivery of timely, reliable, scientific testing; and second, to recommend steps that state and local policymakers can take to identify and address deficiencies in the field while continuing to support its achievements.

The report specifically addressed organization and management, staff and training, certification, funding, performance standards and equipment, and statewide forensic science oversight. The most notable of their recommendations involved certification, funding, and statewide oversight.

The Task Force recommended that all persons who practice in a forensic science discipline or testify as a forensic science analyst/examiner should become certified by a reputable certifying body and outlined recommendations on education and certification.

They also declared that crime laboratory funding in California is inadequate, unpredictable, and too unstable to meet current demands or expectations of future growth, and that changes to the existing funding to crime laboratories are needed to restore and enhance the effective delivery of forensic science services in California. A fact well known to crime labs throughout the country.

Finally, they recommended oversight through a statewide body that would consider issues related to forensic science. The shape this body might take will be revealed in a future report."

To read more and get the link to the full report, click here.


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