AAFS Regional Associations Committee Information Sheet

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the articles contained in the Academy News are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Academy.

Source: Vincent P. Villena, MS, RAC Chair and CAC Representative to the RAC

Greetings from the Criminalistics Section Regional Associations Committee (RAC)! As part of the RAC’s efforts to increase communication and collaboration between the many regional associations in the United States, the upcoming Academy Newsfeeds will feature information and updates from each of the associations represented in the RAC. We have previously featured the Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists (NEAFS). For this issue, we would like to take the opportunity to provide a brief overview of the California Association of Criminalists (CAC).

The California Association of Criminalists was established in 1953, the oldest regional forensic science organization and originated the American Board of Criminalistics (ABC) certification program, to foster an exchange of ideas and information within the field of criminalistics. With approximately 30 crime laboratories in the State of California alone, the Association comprises of about 800 members from all around California and its surrounding states. Criminalistics legends like Anthony Longhetti, Jack Cadman, Jan Bashinski, and Edward Rhodes (just to name a few) have founded and presided over the association.

In addition to operating funds, the CAC has the A. Reed and Virginia McLaughlin Endowment. These funds cannot be used for the operation of the CAC, but are used to fund scholarships, research projects, special classes, and other activities in keeping with the objects and purposes of the association. The CAC hosts semiannual seminars, typically in May and October, alternating between the northern and southern regions. The seminar format includes two days of workshops followed by two and a half days of technical presentations and association business. The CAC also hosts semiannual study group meetings for both the north and the south.

CAC publishes its newsletter, CAC News, quarterly in both print and electronic versions. Members are also provided discounted subscription to the Journal of Forensic Sciences and the Science and Justice. The CAC produces an annual salary survey of all agencies that have a member. Participation is voluntary, but it provides good information regarding job classifications, salaries, and benefits. The CAC has a home for archive materials which is currently being inventoried and, when possible, scanned for online access. The archive has operational documents for the association back decades, membership research, historical texts, and an extensive library of Paul Kirk personal case notes.

The 135th CAC Seminar (Spring) that was scheduled for April 27-May 1 at the Hilton Santa Cruz has been cancelled due to health and safety reasons. The Fall Seminar to be hosted by the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department on October 25-31 will proceed as planned.