I am writing policies and procedures (ISO), and while certain issues are covered in a general manner with the lab policies, I am attempting to write policies specific to the latent unit and I would like to find out what people do at their agencies, and how they approach different issues that come up in latent prints. I have covered many of the common issues with non-conforming work and conflict resolution but I would appreciate any assistance for the following situations that are causing debate:
1. Brady issue
If the department pays for the certification process and allows the employee to take the test on work time (even though certification is not required at the department) and the employee fails (for any reason, identification error or otherwise), should this information be available and provided along with other discoverable information if requested? What if the employee takes it on their own – should management ask their employees randomly or have a policy requiring they be informed of analysts taking the exam and the results, since a defense attorney could ask the analyst on the witness stand without needing to do discovery? Is it no business of the department if they don’t require it, even though a false positive error on the exam may be discovered during their testimony?
If an employee has made several errors (caught in verification) and the root cause determines re-training is needed, is that information provided to the attorneys automatically- or only if they ask on the stand or in discovery?
2. Handling false negatives
Since there are studies that indicate that there is a higher number than once thought of false negatives, how does an agency determine how many is too many? With a false positive there is immediate action, root cause, pulled off casework and case review is performed. While root cause should be done even with one false negative- since there is an indication of a higher percentage of them than false positives, is there a different threshold or should it be treated the same and the analyst is pulled off of casework with case review going back several months?
Are false positives and false negatives treated the same when they are caught in the verification process as they would be if they were verified and had been officially reported?
For the school of thought that the purpose of verification is to catch any mistakes, therefore the process worked and no one should be pulled off of casework and have case review done – what if there were repeated errors, what number would be acceptable before it was determined there was a problem with the analyst and re-training was needed? If no case review is performed how can it be determined that no errors were verified (we verify all id's and exclusions)?
Is re-training mandated at a certain number of errors or is it at the discretion of management?