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G o o d   M o r n i n g !
Monday, May 28, 2007

The purpose of the Detail is to help keep you informed of the current state of affairs in the latent print community, to provide an avenue to circulate original fingerprint-related articles, and to announce important events as they happen in our field.
Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac

Fingerprint Dispute Dooms Border Site  WASHINGTON POST, DC - May 24, 2007 ...government wants to be able to take suspects' fingerprints and compare them with terrorist and criminal databases...

Finding Fingerprints  JEWISH WEEK, NY - May 22, 2007 ...technique is supplemented by adding hydrocarbon chains to the gold nano-particles and suspending them in petroleum ether...

Police Fingerprint Test 'unfair' NEW ZEALAND HERALD - May 22, 2007 ...a test using handheld computers to fingerprint drivers of stopped cars has been criticized...

'CSI Effect' Put Under the Scope ANN ARBOR, MI - May 18, 2007 ...watching popular crime shows on television today is not influencing jurors in ways that people in legal circles expect...

Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
Last Week's Board topics containing new posts
Moderated by Steve Everist

Statistics and Misidentifications - The weeks Detail
Michele Triplett 4199 Sun May 27, 2007 9:16 pm

McKie's facing court appearance?
Daktari 4583 Fri May 25, 2007 11:24 pm

Livescan issues
mdavis 304 Fri May 25, 2007 12:44 pm

Not so good news out of Florida
Jessica Janisch 3226 Fri May 25, 2007 12:22 pm

Ann Horsman 327 Wed May 23, 2007 11:53 pm

Biometrics at the airport
sharon cook 249 Wed May 23, 2007 2:59 pm

Boston Globe on the BPD Print Unit
L.J.Steele 817 Wed May 23, 2007 1:06 pm

latent prints in blood
Julie 154 Tue May 22, 2007 6:00 pm

IAI Latent Print Certification Test
Pat A. Wertheim 574 Tue May 22, 2007 2:53 am

Motorola AFIS Users?
Ann Horsman 482 Mon May 21, 2007 4:46 pm



No major updates on the site this week.

But I have to include a quote from the CSI effect news article:

The jurors acquitted because no one dusted the lawn for fingerprints."

Well, folks... get outside and git 'er done!



Last week

We reviewed a recent article published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences related to latent print visualization.

This week

Lenny Butt brings us information about the recent National Academy of Sciences meeting regarding forensic science needs.

Edited Address to the SWGFAST Members Regarding the Recent NAS Meeting
by Lenny Butt, Chair: SWGFAST

Hope that everyone is getting geared up for Summer!

Talking about rising temperatures, the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Science Community met on April 23rd and 24th. This was the second of five scheduled meetings. The NAS committee has been tasked with an overwhelming responsibility to be completed in a minimal amount of time. The entire forensic community is depending on their ability to successfully identify all of the issues that should be considered, assemble and review all of the associated data relating to those issues, and finally access what actions, if any, should be recommended to address the issues. They have to be feeling the heat.

At the invitation of the committee, SWGFAST members Ed German and Steve Meagher both made presentations during the meeting. Introductory comments by Co-chair, Judge Harry T. Edwards, emphasized that this was an information gathering session only, and that no one should assume that any decisions have already been made.

Although Ed had to present immediately after lunch he did a great job of responding to the issues that he had been asked to address while keeping everyone interested and attentive. There were no surprises with how well Steve's presentation went. There was a momentary gasp as he tried to respond to an invited commentator’s earlier remarks which, unfortunately, he did not have the opportunity to complete. Many thanks to both of these individuals for representing the fingerprint discipline in such an exemplary manner.

During the proceedings the invitee would give their presentation and the committee would follow-up with questions. In listening to the questions, I found myself becoming increasingly concerned that the scope of what could be accomplished by this study has the potential of being limited. This was, in part, due to the level of attention that the committee had to give to current criticisms. I hope that I am wrong in this assessment. There were no surprises in the terms that were repeated throughout the meeting: blind verification, contextual bias, error rate, and probability models. All, deserving of consideration, but certainly not representative of the complete forensic science picture as it currently exist.

Many presentations were scheduled for the 1.5 days that were open to interested parties. The ambitious schedule left minimal opportunity for additional comments or questions. Surprisingly, during Steve's presentation he was asked if SWGFAST would be able to consider some additional questions and report back to the committee. While presentations were made regarding forensic examinations involving: arson, DNA, drugs, firearms, odentology, and trace evidence/hair none of the other participants had the same invitation extended to them. It should be noted that several critics were also asked to present commentaries at the meeting and they too were not asked to consider follow-up questions.

Yes, the fact that SWGFAST alone has such an offer may be considered as being a "bad" thing. Personally I believe that, considering the manner in which it was presented and the scope of what they are asking, this is a positive sign. This provides the fingerprint community with an opportunity to highlight points which may otherwise be lost simply due to the limited opportunity for direct communication to the committee, the amount of information that they have to consider, and the distractions presented by the present criticisms.

There are six questions that SWGAFST has been presented with. So that the NAS committee can have it in time to review prior to their final scheduled open meeting, responses will have to be completed in the July/August time frame. Unfortunately, that meeting will be taking place during the same week that SWGFAST is currently scheduled to meet, so SWGFAST members will be faced with additional homework over the next month. Of course, members are all acutely aware that this study has the very real potential of impacting many aspects of what we do, and for the good of the entire discipline it deserves as much attention as we can possibly give it.

Thank you in advance for your continued commitment.

FYI:  The NAS committee will be holding meetings open to the public on June 5th and 6th and September 20th and 21st in Washington, D.C.

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Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.

Have a GREAT week!