A New Forensic Best Practice Recommendation From ASB

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Source: Teresa Ambrosius, ASB Secretariat

The AAFS Standards Board (ASB) is pleased to announce the publication of ANSI/ASB Best Practice Recommendation 021, Best Practices for the Preparation of Test Impressions from Footwear and Tires, First Edition.

This standard is produced through ASB’s Footwear and Tire Consensus Body in a consensus process accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The standard is based partly on earlier work by the Footwear and Tire Subcommittee of the Physics and Pattern Interpretation Committee of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees.

This document provides forensic footwear and tire impression examiners guidance in the preparation of two- and three-dimensional test impressions from known footwear and tires for use in the comparison process. The purpose of creating test impressions from known footwear or tires is to record the characteristics on the outsole or tread and attempt to reproduce the conditions present when the questioned impression was made. The methods included in this document are not all-inclusive and may not cover all aspects of unusual or uncommon conditions. This document is not intended to replace a professional training program.

Forensic footwear and tire track examination is a forensic discipline that attempts to identify, exclude, or determine the degree of association/non-association between an item of footwear or tire and a questioned impression. It requires a broad range of knowledge, skills, and abilities to effectively apply appropriate scientific and technical methodologies and properly evaluate the findings in order to reach one of these appropriate conclusions. An important factor in any scientific or technical endeavor is to conduct appropriate and accurate experimentation. Making test impressions is a key part of the experimentation phase of footwear and tire track examination. This document lays out the foundational principles for making test impressions from known footwear and tires for comparison with the questioned impressions.

ASB documents are available for download in the Published Documents portion of the ASB website.

The ASB is an ANSI-accredited Standards Developing Organization (SDO) with the purpose of providing accessible, high-quality, science-based consensus forensic standards. The ASB is a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), established in 2015 and accredited by the ANSI in 2016. The ASB is partially funded by a grant through the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

The ASB consists of Consensus Bodies (CB), which are open to all materially interested and affected individuals, companies, and organizations; a Board of Directors; and Staff.

ABOUT ANSI: ANSI facilitates the development of American National Standards (ANS) by accrediting the procedures of SDOs. Accreditation by ANSI signifies that the procedures used by the standards body in connection with the development of American National Standards meet the Institute’s essential requirements for openness, balance, consensus, and due process.

The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) of 1995 (Public Law 104-113) and its implementation directive, Office of Management and Budget Circular A-119, direct federal agencies to utilize voluntary consensus standards where feasible and to participate as appropriate in voluntary consensus standards development activities. Standards developed in accordance with ANSI’s accreditation requirements satisfy obligations incumbent on federal agencies to use or adopt voluntary consensus standards.

In order to maintain ANSI accreditation, standards developers are required to consistently adhere to a set of requirements or procedures that govern the consensus development process. These requirements are set forth in a document known as the ANSI Essential Requirements: Due process requirements for American National Standards (www.ansi.org/essentialrequirements).

Due process is the key to ensuring that ANSs are developed in an environment that is equitable, accessible, and responsive to the requirements of various stakeholders. The open and fair ANS process ensures that all interested and affected parties have an opportunity to participate in a standard’s development. It also serves and protects the public interest since standards developers accredited by ANSI must meet the Institute’s essential requirements and other due process safeguards.