OSAC Committee Report


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Source: Barry K. Logan, PhD, AAFS 2013-14 President and AAFS NIST OSAC Ad Hoc Committee Chair

The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step…

The Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) had its kick-off meeting in Norman, OK, in early January. There were two sets of back-to-back meetings that brought together the subcommittees in each discipline, the Scientific Area Committee’s (SACs) to which they report, members of the Forensic Science Standards Board (FSSB) together with the Human Factors, Legal Resources, and Quality Infrastructure Resource Committees that will assist with the standards development process.

These events were an exciting introduction to the new process. As the AAFS representative to the FSSB, I attended the first session featuring the inaugural meetings of the Chemistry/Instrumental Analysis and the Crime Scene/Death Investigation Area Committees.

I had the opportunity to see first-hand how the various subcommittees feel out their roles and responsibilities, critically evaluate the legacies of the Scientific Working Groups (SWGs), and begin to appreciate the importance and attainability of a more open and transparent standards setting process that does not undermine or jeopardize the integrity of our profession, but that rather, that looks to achieve buy-in from all the stakeholders of the criminal justice system in support of independent, objective and unbiased forensic science. The process also is able to take advantage of the hard work that has already been done by the Scientific Working Groups and to give it the imprimatur of internationally recognized standards development organizations.

In Norman, we were introduced to the members and perspectives of the quality infrastructure, human factors, and legal resources committees. Of particular interest to me was the presentation of Dr. Itiel Dror, chair of the human factors committee. Much of Dr. Dror’s work is available online and his research is thought provoking (www.cci-hq.com/Dror_FSPM_practical_solutions.pdf).

During the AAFS meeting in Orlando, the first public meetings of the SACs were held in an adjacent hotel. These public presentations are critical to the commitment for openness of the process and we should look at ways to increase attendance and participation at these meetings in the future.