aiding/assisting law enforcement in the discovery, analysis, presentation and preservation of digital evidence of probative value.”44

In September 2007, NIJ announced the addition of four Technology Centers of Excellence to serve as resources within their respective technology focus areas by providing technology assistance to law enforcement personnel as well as by working with technology developers and users to test and evaluate equipment in operational environments. In addition, NIJ set aside $5 million for grants to support the development of forensic science standards at NIST.45

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

The FBI Laboratory also receives roughly $33 million per year for its own research. To set priorities, the laboratory consults with its own staff and with working-level scientists in the SWGs they support.

The FBI’s Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit “provides technical leadership/advancement of counterterrorism and forensic sciences for the FBI as well as for state and local law enforcement agencies through the development and validation of new technologies/techniques by both internal and outsourced research efforts and through advanced scientific training in specialized forensic procedures.”46 It fulfills its research mission through two core programs.

The Research and Development Program creates and coordinates the development of new forensic techniques, instrumentation, and protocols for FBI Laboratory units to use in terrorism and violent crime cases. The program focuses its efforts in the areas of DNA analysis, trace organic chemical analysis, toxicology, explosives, fingerprints, drug and materials analysis (e.g., paints, tapes, inks, glass, and metals), database development, anthropology, microbial forensics, and field instrumentation. The committee was told that the program publishes some of its results in scientific journals. The Research Partnership Program transfers new forensic technologies and procedures to case-working examiners at state and local crime laboratories through collaborative studies and implements SWG-defined protocols and national forensic databases. Workshops include those involving the use of an automotive carpet fiber database, messenger RNA (mRNA) profiling of human semen, the visualization and identification of pepper spray on evidentiary materials, 1-step purification of DNA from different matrices, and the permanence of friction ridge skin detail.




J. Morgan, Deputy Director for Science and Technology, NIJ. Presentation to the committee. January 25, 2007.



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