UPDATES ON CLPEX.com
A note from David Ashbaugh:
Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.
My friends and I were riding near The Dalles in Oregon at the time of the
motorcycle accident. At this point we feel there was a mechanical problem
with the front end of the bike. The bike went down in an instant as I was
leaned into a corner. As soon as the bike went on its side I hit my head and
was unconscious. This is good as remaining relaxed in a motorcycle crash
prevents bones from breaking. It was a slow speed but sudden crash into a
deep ditch. Witnesses say I did at least two end over end flips while still
in the saddle, but I don't remember anything of the accident.
The original surgery went well and I recovered rapidly. I was taken to the
Mid-Columbia Medical Center. My helmet, a full face top end model saved my
head from being meloned on the rocks as there were large cuts down the side
of the helmet from the impact, my pro-race leather jacket prevented
shoulder, upper arm and collar bone damage by absorbing the impact in that
area. However, I did have internal abdomen injuries and minor brain damage.
Bottom line, my protective gear protected me enough that the surgeons could
save my life.
Some one in hospital told me that when I arrived at the emergency room and
they opened me up, there was some surprise at the amount of blood and some
doubt as to if I would survive. After a pause, someone said that I was in
good shape for a 60 year old; as if there was some hope that if they got
this mess back together it might even work.
The hospital, surgeons, nurses and staff at The Dalles were first rate and
help immensely with the initial recovery. Now that the post-operative meds
are wearing off we have found that there was other muscle and nerve damage
that was hidden under the original medication. So now I am dealing with
another set of issues which require different medication and treatment.
At this point I don't know how this injury will affect me. During the first
few days in hospital I expressed concern that I would not be able to present
a couple of courses planned this month and how important preparing our
science to meet Daubert standards was. I got his point when the surgeon
patted my leg and put it all in perspective by saying, "Lets save your life
Kathy Saviers brought us information on the IAI Latent Print Certification
Frank Fitzpatrick gives us a look at the FQS-I Police Science Accreditation
Accreditation and Latent Prints
by Frank Fitzpatrick
FQS-I Police Science Accreditation Program
measures of demonstrating quality in forensic sciences analysis have been
certification and accreditation. IAI has been the leader in establishing
certification of latent print examiners.
Accreditation, however, has largely been driven by the crime lab management
community with consensus-developed standards. Almost all traditional crime
labs in the United States are now accredited. Accreditation programs seem to
be trending away from these consensus standards and towards international
standards (ISO/IEC 17025). But the 300-400 crime labs are a small portion of
total forensic service providers in the country. Identification Bureaus
providing latent print and/or crime scene services could number in the
thousands, but few are accredited.
With the attacks on the latent print community, it is just as important for
the Identification Bureaus to be able to demonstrate, through accreditation,
that there is external acceptance of their methods and their standards of
performance of testing. It is a tool that is used throughout the world
wherever users need assurance about the acceptability of test results that
the user relies upon.
To meet this need, Forensic Quality Services- International (FQS-I), an
accrediting body since 1999, has developed a specific ISO accreditation
program for the Police Sciences. Some of the details of FQS-I program are:
The programs are all based on ISO/IEC 17025* with Field Specific Criteria
from the internationally accepted guidelines for forensic testing published
in the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation Guide 19 (www.ilac.org).
Areas such as latent prints and crime scene investigation have their own
additional field specific criteria and guidance documents called Forensic
Requirements for Accreditation. The Latent Print FRA, for instance, was
developed with the help of latent print experts suggested by the IAI. The
web site (www.forquality.org)
has these FRAs available for review.
Identification Bureaus can choose whether to apply for accreditation in all
areas in which they do testing, or just a few, or even start with one so
that they can introduce the benefit of accreditation in a step-wise manner
to their agency.
Each accreditation is accompanied by a Scope of Accreditation that defines
the tests and areas of evidence to which they are applied. This benefits
agencies and users by making it clear what is covered by the accreditation.
All accreditation decisions are made after an on-site review (“assessment”)
of the Identification Bureau and its policies, procedures and practices.
Costs for an on-site accreditation assessment are based upon the number of
staff and the proposed scope of accreditation, and start at $5,000,
inclusive of assessor travel costs. An on-site assessment is completed every
two years to insure that the Identification Bureau maintains compliance with
the standards. Contact information is on the web site.
Even if you never apply for accreditation, the information on the FQS-I web
site can be a road map for increasing the quality of your operation.
*“ISO” is the international standards organization and “17025” is the series
identification for its international standard on testing competency. The
standard consists of two parts - the first deals with quality management
systems and the second deals with technical aspects. The ISO/IEC 17025
Requirements document is copy-righted and available for a fee from many
publishing houses; however, an ISO 17025 checklist is available at
FRA 4 Version 2006/1
Authorized by Manager of Accreditations 03/06/2006
These requirements supplement those of ISO/IEC 17025 and FQS-I’s FRA-1 in
regard to assessment of latent print testing.
They were developed by a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) consisting of
four (4) subject matter experts nominated by the International Association
for Identification (IAI) and three (3) representatives of FQS-I.
The TAC developed the requirements in the context of:
• The program is primarily directed to law enforcement agencies whose
personnel conduct latent fingerprint development and/or comparisons either
as their sole responsibility or as part of broader duties (such as crime
• “Fingerprint” is as defined in ILAC Guide 19
• The fingerprint officers are using ACE-V, which is the standard approach
in the United States
• The recommended case record review procedures in the FRA-4 have been
arrived at on the basis that examiners are implementing the verification
phase of ACE-V correctly
1. Control of records
Practices vary regarding what is included in a case record. However, at a
minimum, there must be sufficient information available such that in the
absence of the analyst/examiner, another competent analyst/examiner could
evaluate the history of the evidence while in the custody of the examining
section or unit, and the examinations conducted.
Case records must contain either (1) a reproduction of the prints of a
quality suitable for comparison or (2) the original evidence. If this is not
possible, the record must contain sufficient information to guide the
reviewer in retrieving the original evidence. In this way a suitably
qualified examiner would be able to evaluate the original work and verify
that the procedures and conclusions arrived at are reasonable. If the case
record contains the original evidence then it must be stored in a secure
environment to ensure that the evidence is not damaged or lost.
Note: In the case of chemical development processes where the original
latent print may degrade and the comparison is made on the basis of
photographs or other records of the developed image, the recorded images
will be regarded as equivalent to the original.
There must be a procedure that describes how to deal with situations where
the verifying examiner does not agree with the conclusions of the original
examiner. The resolution of the discrepancy must be recorded in the case
record. The annual Management Review must include all records that required
a resolution to ensure that any appropriate preventative or corrective
action is implemented.
At least 10% of all case records must be reviewed for technical correctness.
The technical review is an evaluation of the case record to ensure that
there is an appropriate and sufficient basis for the scientific conclusions.
All individuals who perform technical reviews on case records must have been
previously qualified in the areas that the review is encompassing. The
agency must demonstrate that the technical reviewer has a basis of knowledge
that will allow him/her to ensure that the conclusions and supporting data
are reasonable and within the constraints of scientific acceptance. The
agency must describe the method used for demonstrating completion of each
review, for example, by
completion of a checklist.
2. Access control and evidence integrity
Much of the work in latent print examination can be conducted at the
examiner’s desk. Some functions must be conducted in a laboratory
environment. Any area where there is evidence being actively worked or where
evidence is kept to permit ready access for examination is considered to be
an operational area. Access to the area or to the evidence must be
controlled such that evidence cannot be lost or compromised. This may be
achieved by restricted access to the whole area – for example, the
laboratory; or by providing secure local storage with restricted access -
for example, locked filing cabinets at the examiner’s desk.
3. Critical reagents
A list of critical reagents must be maintained. The correct functioning of
each reagent on the list must be confirmed with a control prior to its use
on evidence. Critical reagents are those whose use can result in damage to
evidence in normal use.
The correct sequence of application of reagents in development of latent
prints is essential. There must be a procedure that specifies the correct
4. Proficiency testing
Each examiner trained to competency must successfully complete annually at
least one suitable proficiency test.
A suitable proficiency test is one that meets the requirements of ISO Guide
43 or is approved by FQS-I.
Assessors shall evaluate the adequacy of the proficiency test performance of
a laboratory in the light of its overall quality assurance procedures and
performance. These shall include internal procedures for competency
monitoring and the effectiveness of
corrective action policies and procedures.
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