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Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward
Robert Shaler received his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University in 1968 and has had academic appointments at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, the City University of New York, New York University School of Medicine, and, most recently, at Pennsylvania State University. He joined the scientific staff of the Pittsburgh and Allegheny County Crime Laboratory in 1970, where, as a criminalist, he practiced forensic science, testified in court, and investigated crime scenes. He joined the Aerospace Corporation staff in 1977 and managed four Law Enforcement Assistance Administration contracts, one of which resulted in setting the bloodstain analysis standard for the Nation’s crime laboratories until the mid 1980s. In 1978, he joined the staff of the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office as the head of its serology laboratory, a position he held until 1987, when he moved to the Lifecodes Corporation, the Nation’s first forensic DNA typing laboratory. As the Director of Forensic Science and Business Development, he introduced “DNA Fingerprinting” to the Nation’s legal and law enforcement communities, through a series of nationwide, informational lectures. Dr. Shaler returned to the Medical Examiner’s Office in 1990, where he created a modern Department of Forensic Biology, designed its current 300,000 square foot modern building, and established the city’s first crime reconstruction team, which still operates from within the Medical Examiner’s Office. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, he assumed responsibility for the DNA identification effort, designing the testing strategy and coordinating the work of six different laboratories. In 2005, he published a book, Who They Were—Inside the World TradeCenter DNA Story: The Unprecedented Effort to Identify the Missing, that told the story of the people working behind the scenes of the DNA work done at the Medical Examiner’s Office in New York City. In July 2005, he retired from the Medical Examiner’s Office and accepted a professorship at Pennsylvania State University, where he is the director of the university’s forensic science program. His crime scene investigation course has attracted national attention, and his research interests are broad, focusing on applying science and technology to crime scene investigation and quantifying the biological response to trauma and stress. He has taught several workshops to working law enforcement professionals in crime scene investigation, crime reconstruction, and bloodstain pattern analysis.
Jay A. Siegel is Professor and Director of the Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program at Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis. He was Director of the Forensic Science Program at Michigan State University. He was Professor of Chemistry at Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colorado, and he spent three years as a forensic chemist with the Virginia Bureau of Forensic Sciences, where he analyzed illicit drugs and