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Source: Kenneth E. Melson, JD, AAFS CFSO Liaison
The CFSO praises the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Principal Deputy Director Dr. Howard Spivak for his comments at the American Society of Crime Lab Director’s 45th Annual Symposium on May 24 and his announcement regarding the Department of Justice (DOJ) formation of a Forensic Laboratory Needs Technology Working Group. This council will be composed of representatives from the DOJ with state and local forensic science laboratory directors and researchers.
The CFSO has long advocated for the creation of an Office of Forensic Science in the Office of Justice Programs that would include a Technology Working Group for addressing forensic science needs in the United States. We applaud this initiative as a first step toward the creation of this office that we believe will provide for the leadership to advance forensic science research and practice.
The FLN-TWG has partnered with our CFSO member organizations, most notably the American Society of Crime Lab Directors, to ensure a wide variety of perspectives and ideas are considered from directors of small to large laboratories from all over the United States. The CFSO requested the operational needs assessment of Forensic Science Service Providers (FSSP) mandated in the Justice for All Act Reauthorization of 2016. This legislation tasked the DOJ with an evaluation of needs and led to listening sessions with various groups of practitioners and stakeholders by the DOJ in 2017 and 2018. “CFSO has been requesting greater state and local forensic science service provider input at DOJ for many years. We appreciate the efforts of DOJ, and in particular the Office of the Deputy Attorney General and the Office of Legal Policy, for listening to our requests and providing this crucial communication engagement opportunity,” said CFSO Chair Matthew Gamette.
The CFSO provides a great deal of education to Congress and our federal partners regarding the needs of forensic science practitioners and how those needs impact the criminal justice system. The CFSO believes this initiative will lead to increased funding for forensic science research and operational needs, more mutual understanding regarding struggles and successes of local and state laboratories, quicker resolution of local level problems caused by federal granting programs, and overall better implementation of policies and procedures that will continue to advance forensic science in the United States.
The CFSO was formed in 1999 and represents more than 21,000 forensic service providers nationwide at federal, state, county, tribal, and local jurisdictions. The mission of the CFSO is to speak with a single voice regarding forensic science issues in matters of mutual interest to its member organizations, to influence public policy at the national level, to highlight the demands on labs to support increased needs of the criminal justice and judicial systems, and to make a compelling case for coordination at a federal level and for strategies for public crime laboratories, forensic service providers, and medical examiner offices.