Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward” was the end product of three (3) years of research and testimony taken by the Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Sciences Community and the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences.
What did they do?
- The Committee that was formed sponsored eight (8) meetings. Four (4) of these meetings which were open to the public.
- The four (4) open meetings included testimonials and recommendations from representatives in the various fields of forensic science, laboratory administrators, academia, statisticians, and lawyers
- During closed meetings, the committee deliberated, reviewed, and drafted a report with thirteen (13) recommendations
The recommendations by the report are as follows:
- Create a National Institute of Forensic Sciences (NIFS)
- Standardize terminology and reporting practices
- Expand research on the accuracy, reliability, and validity of the forensic sciences
- Remove forensic science services from the administrative control of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors’ offices
- Support forensic science research on human observer bias and sources of error
- Develop tools for advancing measurement, validation, reliability, information sharing, and proficiency testing and to establish protocols for examinations, methods, and practices
- Require the mandatory accreditation of all forensic laboratories and certification for all forensic science practitioners
- Laboratories should establish routine quality assurance procedures
- Establish a national code of ethics with a mechanism for enforcement
- Support higher education in the form of forensic science graduate programs, to include scholarships and fellowships
- Improve the medico-legal death investigation system
- Support AFIS interoperability through the development of standards
- Support the use of forensic science in homeland security