So I am back in Kentucky after a couple weather related flight cancellations upon my return from our in-person Board meeting in Savannah. I am happy to be home. I received an email Friday from someone in our Finance Cabinet and he mentioned my Savannah trip. I responded that my return had been delayed but I was back in town now. He then asked me if an elevator was involved to which I explained that I had gotten stuck on an elevator at the airport parking garage on my way to Savannah. The “ordeal” only lasted about 15 minutes and it didn’t affect my flight. He told me that the rumor mill had changed it to me being stuck for hours and missing my flights home. We had a good chuckle but it made me think about a discussion we had at the Board meeting. The forensic community experiences the same spread of misinformation and the resulting perceptions can bleed into the courtroom. A single story of an unintentional error, or misapplication of what a result means, or even purposeful negligence or malfeasance and suddenly the whole universe of forensic science is flawed and considered junk. Suddenly every lab is reported to be dry labbing or overstating the associations in their conclusions when testifying in court. Our science becomes flawed, inept, and corrupt in their eyes and they never take the time and effort to understand that those occurrences are rare and they do not acknowledge the steps we take to prevent these unfortunate events from occurring again. Events from the past, although not occurring now, continue to be cited as why forensic science is unreliable. It can be discouraging. The Board is looking at ways to use its Communications and/or Advocacy committees to promote the quality of forensic science testing with success stories and to possibly respond to some of the news articles that spew misinformation or only highlight the negative outcomes. Instead of being reactive or silent, let’s be proactive. If you would be interested in supporting this effort, please reach out to me.

Along those lines, please start looking for news stories, headlines, events, etc. that we can use in our new video(s) that we will share that the symposium in Reno. I should have a link soon where we can upload files, YouTube links, etc. of successes, celebrations, happenings, exonerations, new technology, etc. in your labs.

An area where we have seen great debate in the past year has been the reliability of DNA Mixture interpretation. This is a last call for participants in the DNA mixture interpretation study (funded by NIJ, conducted by Bode and Noblis). They will be accepting registrations through January 31, 2022, and are trying to get as many participants as possible. We believe that this study is the best current opportunity for the discipline to collect data to address issues raised in the NIST report, and the more labs that participate the better. If you are aware of any labs that may not be participating, please point them to to register. If anyone has questions, please have them contact . Their request for participation flier is included below.

And don’t forget to register for the next episode of our Forensic Research Committee’s virtual “Lightning Talks” series to highlight new and emerging research in all areas of forensic science. This episode will take place on this Thursday the 27th and the topic is Oral Fluid Toxicology. Live attendance is capped at 100. To register, visit

Below is a link for the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners (AFTE) Job Analysis Survey. This survey, in partnership with CPS HR Consulting, provided the foundation for the questions for the Association's three (3) written certification tests. They are hoping to capture an updated detailed view of the duties for the Firearm / Toolmark Examiner and the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) that are determined to be the most critical at the time of certification testing. They are continuing their partnership with CPS who will be evaluating the data and helping guide them through the test refresh process. This link can be forwarded to qualified Firearm / Toolmark Examiners.
Membership within AFTE is not a requirement to participate in the survey. All responses are confidential.

We received another safety committee flyer from the University of Rhode Island about creating a safety plan. They also included a fantastic model safety plan template that is easily adopted by ay laboratory. Both items are included here.

I am going to start highlighting various employment opportunities for upper level forensic laboratory positions. Put the knowledge you acquired in the Leadership Academy training to work! In addition to multiple bench level and supervisor openings we have three Laboratory Director posted on the link. The Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) in Washington DC, has a Chief Science Officer position which closes January 28th. The San Bernardino County Forensic Laboratory has a Lab Director position posted which also closes on January 28th. The Virginia Department of Forensic Science Northern Laboratory in Manassas has a Laboratory Director Position which closes February 9th.

That was a lot of information. Please continue submitting information for the CLM and let your peers know what is happening in your neck of the forensic world. I hope you have a great week.