President's Message
Dear ASCLD Colleagues,

Recently, I was catching up with a friend who is also a colleague. Standards development came up in conversation and my friend said that she had been keeping up with standards that are being developed through OSAC, and did not agree with some of the content in some of the standards she had reviewed.

I encouraged her to share her thoughts with the Standards Development Organization (SDO) when the standard is open for public comment, and I encourage all of ASCLD to do the same. The standards development process is a long journey as many know, and public comment is an important part of the process as it strengthens the document.

You can find newsletters from NIST and ASB here in the CLM and sign up for emails from these organizations to get the most current information. Consider participating in ASTM as well. And if you are interested in learning more about the development of forensic science standards in ISO, reach out to the Standards and Accreditation Initiatives Committee.

We are in the middle of the Holiday Season celebrating Hanukkah last week and Christmas and Kwanzaa this week. I wish all of you very happy – and healthy – holiday celebrations!
 
Be well,

Erin

Erin P. Forry
ASCLD President
ASCLD monthly board meeting, 3rd Friday of every month

Next meeting: January 15th, 2021 at 1:00pm EST
Weekly News and Resources
ASCLD News
As mentioned in one of President Forry’s previous messages, ASCLD has a few award opportunities with deadlines right around the corner. If you have any questions, please contact office@ascld.org and your questions will be forwarded to Nominations & Awards committee chair, Director Scott O’Neill.



The Forensic Research Committee of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors announces the LEAP Collaboration Award. (flyer) The goal of the award is to highlight a collaborative partnership between an academic lab and an operational forensic lab whose work is a significant contribution to forensic science.      
    
The award is open to scientists from all disciplines in LEAP participating laboratories such as Bio/DNA, drug chemistry, toxicology, fingerprints, questioned documents, trace/microscopy, firearms/toolmarks, digital/multimedia sciences.

The winning partnership will be recognized at the 2021 ASCLD Annual Symposium. They will receive a plaque and a unique electronic award icon for use on letterhead, reports, e-mail signatures, etc. 

Application Process:
1.      Complete the application, found at https://www.ascld.org/nominations/
2.      Include a 1 – 2 page description of the collaborative research, specifically addressing the criteria
3.      Submit the completed application electronically to ascldfrc@gmail.com

Application Window: December 14th, 2020 - January 18th, 2021
The Forensic Research Committee of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors announces the Outstanding Evaluation/Validation Award. (flyer) The goal of the award is to recognize an outstanding evaluation/validation study that has been submitted to the FRC repository (https://www.ascld.org/validation-evaluation-repository/).   
       
The award is open to scientists from all disciplines such as Bio/DNA, drug chemistry, toxicology, fingerprints, questioned documents, trace/microscopy, firearms/toolmarks, and digital/multimedia sciences in operational forensic labs or research laboratories.

The winner will be recognized at the 2021 ASCLD Annual Symposium. They will receive a plaque and a unique electronic award icon for use on letterhead, reports, e-mail signatures, etc. 

Application Process:
1.      Complete the application, found at https://www.ascld.org/nominations/
2.   Include a 1 – 2 page description of the evaluation/validation study, specifically addressing the criteria
3.      Submit the completed application electronically to ascldfrc@gmail.com

Application Window: December 14th, 2020 - January 18th, 2021
The Forensic Research Committee of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors announces the Second Annual Innovation Award. (flyer) The goal of the award is to recognize activities highlighting new technologies, protocols, or tools that impact the operational forensic science laboratory.          

The award is open to scientists from all disciplines in operational U.S. forensic laboratories (Bio/DNA, drug chemistry, toxicology, fingerprints, questioned documents, trace/microscopy, firearms/toolmarks, other) who have performed the highlighted work in the past two years. 

The winner will be recognized at the 2021 ASCLD Annual Symposium. They will receive a plaque and a unique electronic award icon for use on letterhead, reports, e-mail signatures, etc. 

Application Process:
1.      Complete the application, found at https://www.ascld.org/nominations/
2.      Include a 1 – 2 page description of the research, specifically addressing the criteria
3.      Submit the completed application electronically to ascldfrc@gmail.com

Application Window: December 14th, 2020 - January 18th, 2021
ASCLD members: We need you!
To make a video in the comfort of your own space (whether that be home/office/outside…be creative) telling us why you like being a member of ASCLD!

Being a part of ASCLD helps our leadership across the world build connections with its memberships and allows members to gain more knowledge in this field by learning from others.

So what are we looking for? A video of you can include:
 
  1. Introduce yourself (your name, title, organization, years in the field)
  2. What got you in the field?
  3. What made you decide to join ASCLD?
  4. What benefits have you gained as a member of ASCLD?
  5. Is there anything you would want a prospective ASCLD member to know?

The video should be around 3 min to 3.5 min in length.
We are asking for videos so we can stay connected with our community during these unprecedented times. Additionally, it was pointed out to us that often times it can be intimidating to take that “leap” into engaging in such a large organization with such great leadership in our field. Let’s show those leaders out there in crime laboratories that we are a welcoming group seeking a diverse membership. Please consider helping us!”
Stop by and visit the ASCLD Forensic Research Committee Validation and Evaluation Repository! Our goal is share information about important Validations and Evaluations with the forensic science community by compiling a list of unique validations and evaluations conducted by forensic labs and universities. The repository will catalog these efforts and provide the contact information of the people responsible for the work. Join ASCLD in this effort to foster information sharing, promote communication, and read about the accomplishments of others worldwide!

Happy Holidays from ASCLD!!
Also, please continue to submit your photos to social media with the hashtag #ASCLDfun
Here are some photos of forensic science in action!
Is your laboratory doing something exciting like building a new lab, incorporating new standards or tackling and overcoming operational challenges during COVID? Are you interested in submitting an article for publication in the CLM? Please submit articles electronically to https://www.ascld.org/clm-submission/ 
Did you know ASCLD has a preferred journal via FSI Synergy? ASCLD has signed Journal Affiliation Agreements with Elsevier B.V. Publishing. This agreement gives ASCLD members some advantages for submitting articles. Elsevier B.V. has agreed to an open access fee of $550 (plus applicable taxes) for ASCLD members to publish, with preferential treatment to ASCLD members in terms of waivers. In return, ASCLD allows Elsevier B.V. Publishing to use the ASCLD logo and trademarks and a membership roster once a year. 
ASCLD Partnerships
The Consortium of Forensic Science Organizations
Formed in 2000, CFSO is an association of six forensic science professional organizations: American Academy of Forensic Sciences; American Society of Crime Lab Directors; International Association for Identification; American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law; National Association of Medical Examiners; and Society of Forensic Toxicologists - American Board of Forensic Toxicology.

These professional organizations together represent more than 21,000 forensic science professionals across the United States.

The mission of the CFSO is to speak with a single forensic science voice in matters of mutual interest to its member organizations, to influence public policy at the national level and to make a compelling case for greater federal funding for public crime laboratories and medical examiner offices. The primary focus of the CFSO is local, state and national policymakers, as well as the United States Congress.

See the November 2020 Newsletter HERE.
Community Research, Newsletters, and Surveys

The ASCLD Forensic Research Committee
The ASCLD Forensic Research Committee is proud to announce the next episode of a virtual “Lightning Talks” series to highlight new and emerging research in all areas of forensic science. Each episode will feature three short talks given by practitioners, researchers, and/or students. The third episode will be held on Thursday January 7th at 1:00 EST and will focus on Error Rates in Forensic Science. It will feature talks by Jay Koehler from Northwestern University School of Law on fingerprint error rates on close non-matches, Brett Gardner from University of Virginia School of Law on estimates of error rates in forensic science, and Ted Vorburger of NIST on error rates and firearm examinations. The live event is limited to 100 people. See the flyer HERE
The Forensic Research Committee releases Bulletin 5 (link Here) with information on new innovation awards, Lightning Talks, and the Researchers Seeking Practitioners Study Form and database. Check out https://www.ascld.org/forensic-research-committee/ for exciting developments from the FRC!
Request for Information!
Analysis of Marijuana Survey
The Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science Seized Drugs Subcommittee is collecting information on current forensic practices with regards to the analysis of Marijuana, in an effort to develop a consensus-based standard that is useful and practical. We appreciate your time and thank you in advance for taking the time to answer these questions related to your laboratory's practices and policies.
The goal of the Laboratories and Educators Alliance Program (LEAP) is to facilitate collaborative research between academia and forensic science laboratories. This joint effort between the American Society of Crime Lab Directors (ASCLD) and the Council of Forensic Science Educators (COFSE) identifies forensic science needs and provides a platform for laboratories, researchers, and students to seek projects aligning with their mutual research capabilities. Read more...
Forensic Laboratory Needs Technology Working Group (FLN-TWG)
The NIJ Forensic Laboratory Needs – Technology Working Group (FLN-TWG) met virtually during the afternoons of October 27 and 28, 2020. 

The FLN-TWG is made up of laboratory directors and research scientists, many of whom are members of ASCLD, who are tasked with providing knowledge and expertise to ensure that NIJ research and implementation of forensic technology is relevant and responsive to laboratory operations needs of the forensic science community.

The FLN-TWG plans to meet again virtually early in 2021.   
ABC Certification Scheme Restructuring
The American Board of Criminalistics (ABC) has been a pillar in the forensic field for certifying criminalists since the 1990’s. As the ABC and forensic disciplines have evolved, the Board of Directors (BOD) has actively pursued strategic changes. Recently a restructuring of the certification scheme for ABC participants has been pursued upon a thoughtful survey and dialogue of the BOD. Please see this official announcement of the restructure which will go into effect on January 1st, 2021. This announcement not only includes the history of this change but also includes some thoughtful questions you may be asking as leaders within your forensic organization.

If you have any questions or comments regarding restructuring of ABC certification schemes, please contact the ABC Board of Directors HERE.
The Cannabis Quality Assurance Program 
The Cannabis Quality Assurance Program (CannaQAP), part of our larger Cannabis program, will help forensic laboratories demonstrate and improve the comparability and/or competence of the quantitative measurements required under the 2018 Farm Bill.
 
For additional information regarding CannaQAP and to sign up to receive notification of new exercises, please
visit https://qa.nist.gov/cannaqap/index.php
The AAFS has established an organization dedicated to developing documentary standards for forensics, the Academy Standards Board (ASB).To date in the United States, forensic standards development has culminated in the currently on-going National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science (OSAC) effort, which began in 2014. NIST has ensured the significant involvement of the forensic science community in this process.

AAFS Standards Board
The documents, comment template, and additional information help to shape the development of these standards by offering your comments during the public commenting period. Keep up with the standards available for public comment at ASB HERE
73rd AAFS Annual Scientific Meeting Goes Virtual!

The 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) will be held virtually from February 15-19, 2021. Abstracts were due by October 8, 2020. Notification of Acceptance will be mailed to all presenting authors by November 27, 2020. Meeting registration materials will be subsequently sent to presenting authors.

#forensicscienceweek on Social Media
We hope you followed along this week on both the Academy and the ASB social media platforms! Please take a moment to visit our pages and become one of our new Followers. In addition to the Academy Facebook® page, we have launched a Twitter® feed and both Academy and ASB LinkedIn® pages.
Contribute To the ASB
Your contribution will help ensure the ASB's success in establishing standards and best practices for the forensic science community. Your contribution may be tax deductible as an ordinary and necessary business expense for federal income tax purposes. Make a donation.
ASB updates from ANSI Standards Action
To view a summary of items of interest to ASB members in ANSI Standards Action, visit the ANSI Standards Action Weekly Report folder on the ASB Workspace page. Please contact asb@aafs.org if you have difficulties logging on to the Workspace site.
Funding Opportunities
Will your laboratory be among the 2021 FORESIGHT Maximus award winners?
Some have already submitted their data, but there is still time for others to submit. We thank those who have already submitted and encourage all to participate.
Note that we are hosting two workshops at the 2021 ASCLD Symposium. One workshop is designed for new participants to assist in data reporting. The second workshop is designed for laboratory leadership to get the most out of their annual reports. Please join us at the ASCLD Symposium.
Attached you will find the data collection form for participation in Project FORESIGHT. As a response to several laboratories regarding the minimum data necessary to participate, we created a data collection tool LabRAT Levels.
You Tube videos demonstrating the use of the LabRAT tool are available on the project website.
All of your Level I Casework and Expenditures data are immediately transferred to the Level II worksheets. Any additional detail on casework (e.g., TAT, backlogs, items, samples, tests, and reports) or expenditures will enhance the precision of your report. Partial reporting under the Level II worksheets is fine. Do not worry about having all possible blocks filled.
Please try to submit your data by January 15, 2021 to: foresightsubmissions@gmail.com or paul.speaker@mail.wvu.edu. If you are unable to meet that target date, please submit when you are able. All submissions that are receive at least one month prior to the 2021 ASCLD Symposium will be evaluated for Maximus award consideration.
Note that annual reports for prior years are available via https://business.wvu.edu/research-outreach/forensic-business-studies/foresight.
Finally, if you haven’t tested it yet, check out the beta version of the workforce calculator hosted by RTI International and the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (https://forensiccoe.org/workforce-calculator-project/). The updated workforce calculator will be posted in the near future. We’ll send an updated notice when it is ready for trial.
Paul J Speaker
Professor
Department of Finance – 220 B&E
John Chambers College of Business and Economics
West Virginia University
Morgantown, WV 26506-6025
(304) 293-7810 (office)
For the most up to date Funding Opportunities visit: https://bja.ojp.gov/funding/current

Standards Corner

The Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science monthly Standards Bulletin is now available. Read about the latest DNA standard to be added to the OSAC Registry and the nine other standards currently open for Registry comment. Also learn about the recently published toxicology and footwear and tire standards, the eight standards open for comment at standards developing organizations, and the new documents being initiated. 
Training
August 22-26, 2021 | Together Toward Tomorrow | Boston, MA
The ASCLD 2021 Symposium will be held at the Westin Copley in Boston’s historic Back Bay August 22-26, 2021.

Are you interested in presenting at ASCLD 2021? Click HERE to submit an abstract.

Continue to watch the 2021 ASCLD Symposium website here. for important updates. If you have any questions, please contact our Symposium Chair, Laura Sudkamp, laura.sudkamp@ky.gov.
ASCLD Emerging Issues: Employee Webinar Series (Archived)

Providing training and education to our membership is a core mission for ASCLD. Despite the unfortunate cancellation of our annual symposium this year, the Symposium Planning and Training and Education Committees found a way to bring timely and relevant content that would have been experienced in Denver, to the ASCLD membership.
Through a generous partnership with the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence at RTI International, ASCLD presented a three-part webinar series entitled ASCLD Emerging Issues: Employee Wellness. Providing training and education in employee wellness is part of the current ASCLD Strategic Plan. In an already stressful profession, as we adapt and lead through the COVID-19 pandemic, this topic is particularly timely.

In June 2020, ASCLD Emerging Issues: Employee Wellness presented the webinars bleow. To view these and other archived training opportunities please visit: https://forensiccoe.org/allresources/

Speakers: Andrew Levin, Jonathan McGrath, Heidi Putney, & Danielle Crimmins

Speaker: Jody Wolf

Speaker: Robert Kirkby
ANAB - Upcoming training events
New! ANAB is offering live instructor lead online courses to meet the need for continued learning in light of widespread travel restrictions and the need for social distancing. Each class is offered via WebEx and includes the opportunity for participants to submit questions, as well as interact with the instructor and other participants.

December 14-17, 2020, (11:00am-5:00pm ET) Live Online
 
Self-paced Training (Web-based)

Self-paced Training (Web-based)
Safety
The Coronavirus and Stress: How they affect your Lab
Jane Northup Ph.D.
RI State Crime Laboratory

HHS Secretary Azar recently announced that the US expects to have 40 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year. That equates to a vaccine for 20 million people. With COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across the United States rising due to cold weather moving in, people spending more time indoors, and COVID fatigue setting in, the news of a vaccine coming soon gives much hope. The CDC recommends that healthcare workers be given priority, including nursing homes and congregate care residents and staff. However, there are an estimated 21 million healthcare workers in the US, let alone the over 3 million individuals who work and live in nursing care facilities. These two groups will be given first preference to a vaccine leaving the rest of the country to wait for future vaccines. At best, the bulk of your agency's staff may not be eligible for a vaccine until late spring in 2021. We know that everyone should wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet apart, avoid crowds, and wash hands frequently. But, with at least another six months looming ahead, are we doing enough, and is it sustainable through 2021, if not longer?  

Read full article HERE
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Donate to ASCLD
Donations to ASCLD can now be made online! This is a great way to honor the memory of a forensic colleague, to commemorate a life event for that person who has everything, or to otherwise assist in supporting the tireless efforts of the ASCLD organization in the pursuit of excellence in forensic science management. The donation page can be accessed by clicking HERE or by visiting the ASCLD website and clicking on "Donate to ASCLD" under the "Member Site" tab (this donation page is accessible even to non-members). Please consider donating and do share this information with anyone you think might be interested.
The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors

65 Glen Road, Suite 123
Garner, NC 27529
Phone: 919.773.2044