Author: theluisaflorez

Medical Examiner’s Office and Forensic Division Get New Staff

Over the course of the summer, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Delaware suffered a scandal involving some issues in evidence in a drug related case. As a result, Doctor Richard Callery, the chief medical examiner at the time, was targeted in a criminal investigation, with charges of possible misuse of state resources; therefore, Callery was fired for misconduct in July, as a result of the evidence-tampering scandal. Ever since suffering this issue, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has been replaced by the new division focusing entirely on Forensic Science.

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The division is overseen by the Safety and Homeland Security Secretary department, which has formed an oversight panel to discuss a return from the scandal, as well as hiring new staff and establishing new procedures, according to an article recently completed by WBOC 16.

The biggest struggle the oversight panel has suffered thus far is finding a director for the new division. The panel is looking for someone with specific scientific qualifications, with additional management experiences. Many of the applicants have easily fulfilled the science requirements for the demands of the job. However, the panel has struggled to find someone who meets their expectations in managing people. As a result, the panel said that it was going to reexamine its qualifications for the director’s post; in addition to this, they have reconsidered the salary offerings for the position and have decided to set the income total between ninety thousand and one hundred and twenty thousand dollars.

After suffering the scandal, the new division struggled to get off of its feet. However, the lab has since resumed accepting evidence cases, especially to fulfill the needs of the Wilmington Police Department. Occasionally, the new division will even receive cases from the Delaware State Police, showing a return of faith for the lab.

from Luisa Florez Medical Examiner http://ift.tt/1HGWm2W

関東甲信で梅雨明け 館林市で37.8℃ 7/19 19:24更新

Luisa Florez’s latest blog post.

関東甲信地方の梅雨明けが発表された19日は関東各地で真夏日となり、群馬県館林市では全国最高の37.8℃に。東京都心も34.8℃で、今年一番の暑さとなった。

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Medical Examiner’s Office and Forensic Division Get New Staff

Over the course of the summer, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Delaware suffered a scandal involving some issues in evidence in a drug related case. As a result, Doctor Richard Callery, the chief medical examiner at the time, was targeted in a criminal investigation, with charges of possible misuse of state resources; therefore, Callery was fired for misconduct in July, as a result of the evidence-tampering scandal. Ever since suffering this issue, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has been replaced by the new division focusing entirely on Forensic Science.

Miniature_silver_medical_devices

 

The division is overseen by the Safety and Homeland Security Secretary department, which has formed an oversight panel to discuss a return from the scandal, as well as hiring new staff and establishing new procedures, according to an article recently completed by WBOC 16.

The biggest struggle the oversight panel has suffered thus far is finding a director for the new division. The panel is looking for someone with specific scientific qualifications, with additional management experiences. Many of the applicants have easily fulfilled the science requirements for the demands of the job. However, the panel has struggled to find someone who meets their expectations in managing people. As a result, the panel said that it was going to reexamine its qualifications for the director’s post; in addition to this, they have reconsidered the salary offerings for the position and have decided to set the income total between ninety thousand and one hundred and twenty thousand dollars.

After suffering the scandal, the new division struggled to get off of its feet. However, the lab has since resumed accepting evidence cases, especially to fulfill the needs of the Wilmington Police Department. Occasionally, the new division will even receive cases from the Delaware State Police, showing a return of faith for the lab.

from Luisa Florez Medical Examiner http://ift.tt/1HGWm2W

Houston Forensic Lab Receives Accreditation

Forensic-Science

The Houston Forensic Science Center, otherwise known as the HFSC, has undergone quite a few changes in the last few years. Previously, it was known as the Houston Police Department Crime Lab. In its run as the HPD’s Crime Lab, the unit’s operations included the department’s crime scene unit and parts of the identification division.

However, the name of the lab has been revised to the HFSC, as the unit continues to expand. Now, the unit currently operates in eight forensic disciplines and continues to expand. A board of directors appointed by the Mayor of Houston and approved by City Council oversees the lab. Since the third of April of this year, the lab has been managed by Houston Forensic Science Center, Inc., a separate legal entity. HFSC is responsible for overseeing and managing the independent forensic laboratory, which involves the previous functions for the police department as well as the independent forensic science tasks.

This expansion has earned the HFSC a new level of accreditation. Since 2005, the lab has been accredited by the Texas Department of Public Safety. This level of achievement is necessary for the lab’s work, evidence and findings to be admissible to courts across the state. However, now, according to an article recently completed by The Pasadena Citizen, the HFSC has been awarded accreditation under the ISO/IEC 17025 “General Requirements for the Competence of Testing Laboratories” standard.

To achieve this issue of accreditation, the laboratory demonstrated it met or exceeded global requirements in its management, technical and quality operations. Of the eight divisions of forensic science the lab currently operates under, only four were subject to the observations needed to receive the accreditation. The observed disciplines included Biology/DNA, Controlled Substances, Firearms and Toxicology.

Dan Garner, HFSC’s CEO and President, claimed that the mission of the lab has always been to collect, analyze and preserve evidence while adhering to the highest standards of quality, objectivity and ethics. The ISO 17025 accreditation declares that the lab is capable of doing just that.

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Forensic Science May Have Uncovered Jack the Ripper

Luisa Florez’s latest blog post.

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Jack the Ripper remains, to this day, one of the most perplexing cold cases. Many conspiracy theorists have dedicated hours, months and years towards attempting to solve this century old case. Many theories have emerged over the years, and many have often thought they had definitively figured out who exactly Jack the Ripper may have been. However, a new theory always emerges, questioning the validity of the previous establishment.

According to an article recently completed by Kinja Gizmodo, a partnership between a businessman and a forensic science has afforded yet another possible answer for who could have been Jack the Ripper. With the increase in the ability of science, it is not surprising that a forensic scientist could possibly be the one to definitively answer the question of the man behind the misnomer of Jack the Ripper.

However, the discovery would not have been possible without Russell Edwards, the businessman component of the duo. He acquired a shawl that was said to be owned by Catherine Eddowes, one of the unfortunate victims of Jack the Ripper’s crimes. In 2011, Edwards sought out Jari Louhelainen, an expert in the field of forensic analysis. From there, Louhelainen had to sequence the DNA he could find on the shawl. In the process, he was able to map the DNA by determining the exact order of the bases in the strand provided by the material. Using the polymerase chain reaction technique, Louhelainen was allowed to make millions of exact copies of the DNA—more than enough to complete the necessary sequencing needed to identify his Jack the Ripper suspect. The genome amplification technique allowed Louhelainen to discover several key aspects of his suspect’s ethnic and geographic origins, including the color of his hair. The results indicated that the suspect needed to be of Russian Jewish ethnicity with dark hair.

These facts were used to narrow down lists of previous suspects. From there, Edwards and Louhelainen were able to track down the most feasible option, take a swab of DNA and compare it to the evidence Jack the Ripper left behind on the shawl. Edwards and Louhelainen found a match in Aaron Kosminski. At the time, he was a twenty-three year old polish barber who lived in close proximity of all the murders. Louhelainen believes these findings are reliable, beyond a shade of reasonable doubt. However, the article notes the timing of the release, which corresponds with Louhelainen’s release of a book on catching Jack the Ripper, and suspects it may just be an exaggerated PR stunt.

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One Professor’s Efforts in Forensic Science

According to an article recently completed by the FT Magazine, the efforts of Professor Sue Black and her team at the University of Dundee are revolutionary to the field of forensic science. Black serves as the director of the University of Dundee Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, otherwise known as the Cahid. The center and its department handles some of the United Kingdom’s most cutting edge research on forensics and anatomy. The center fulfills many duties, from working on murder cases, to teaching new police officers in mass victim identification to helping break up Scotland’s biggest pedophile ring in 2009.

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Black took over as director of the Cahid in 2003. Since then, she has turned the center into a competitive unit of colleagues, going so far as to win the Queen’s Anniversary Prize this year. Within a few years of running the department, Black found a pressing need for a new and improved mortuary. She asked the university to fulfill her request, and they agreed, on the stipulation that Black herself would find a way to raise one million pounds for the project. At this juncture, the fictionalization of her career that can serve as an inaccurate and frustration portrayal of the job she holds so dear paid off to her benefit, as she was able to find many who supported her ambitions for a new mortuary monetarily, merely by being vocal in her pursuits.

There have been other benefits to her very loud requests for funding for her mortuary. In 2003, the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification would receive approximately thirty to thirty five cadavers a year for embalming and practices for doctors. Alternatively, this year they have received seventy-five, as more individuals approach them and ask to donate their remains in the name of science.

The profiler also observed that the majority of those employed under Director Black were women. This was not necessarily surprising, as some preliminary research indicated that seven out of nine of the United Kingdom’s highest certified forensic practitioners are women. Therefore, it only makes sense that this statistic would apply to lower researchers as well. In addition, of those in attendance of the University of Dundee studying forensic anthropology, ninety percent of them are women. Most notably among Black’s colleagues is Dr. Helen Meadows, a postdoctoral research assistant. She has become noteworthy in her own right, based on her focus on the human hand and the answers it can afford in cases. According to Meadows, scars, pigmentation, fingernails and vein patterns can build a body of evidence all on their own.


(Source)

 

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luisaflorezforensics

Forensic Science Works to Disprove the Fiction

With shows such as Bones and CSI running rampant, audiences can often reach misconceptions on the perception of forensic science and the means and tools with which it reaches its ends. As a result, many labs opened their doors for the National Forensic Science Week, in the hopes of disproving some of these conclusions drawn based in fiction. Among the labs to participate was the Utah State Crime Lab at the Calvin Rampton Complex, according to an article recently completed by Deseret News.

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The Utah State Crime Lab is unique, in that it is the only full service and accredited crime lab in the state of Utah, according to Jay Henry, director of the Utah Bureau of Forensic Services Laboratory System. As a result, they see a bulk of the forensic cases that pass through the state, certainly far more than the scientists on CSI seem to work through. The lab has seventy employees, forty of whom are forensic scientists, and thirty serve as support and administration staff. These employees are kept busy, as various cases pass through their doors—processing evidence through the use of sexual assault kits, DNA, trace evidence, latent fingerprints and firearms. The lab sees over four thousand cases per year, in a variety of crimes, such as drugs, shootings, rape and homicide.

Specifically, the number of DNA cases from 2008 to 2012 has doubled. While pervious methods did not allow for forensic scientists to proceed working on cases that didn’t afford biological fluids, new tools and techniques allow the scientists to press forward, resulting in more evidence, better databases and an increased caseload.

As a direct result of the increase in work, plans for the construction of a second lab have been started. This new lab would be a state of the art facility, built specifically for the duties and demands of forensic scientists. The current building is merely an adaptation, which has motivated the administration to seek a specialized building for their needs. The department plans to ask Legislation for thirty nine million dollars to build the building; land will not need to be purchased, as the lab already owns the land next to their current locale.


(Youtube)

Existing Forensic Science Program Developed into Department

The existing forensic science program at West Virginia University has built a reputation for excellence since it was first created in 1997. With its eighteen thousand square feet of lab facilities and a faculty with more than fifty years combined in field experience, students travel to the university from all across the country to enroll in the program, which is known for its innovative teaching methods, rigorous curriculum and unique internship partnerships with some of the top labs in the nation.

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In the current program, three tracks are available to undergraduates seeking a degree in forensic science. As part of the forensic examiner program, students are prepared for positions as crime scene analysts, fingerprint examiners and various positions in the law enforcement field. In the forensic biology track, participants prepare for positions in forensic labs as DNA analysts. Finally, those who study in the forensic chemistry and toxicology track work towards careers in forensic labs as forensic chemists, arson analysts and trace evidence examiners. For the masters program, only this last track is carried on, as the degree extends the focus forward in three branches, for work with trace evidence, evidence interpretation and pattern evidence.

While this existing program is already heavily valued in the university’s overall set of degrees, the success and credibility has drawn further attention. According to an article recently completed by the State Journal, this has prompted officials at West Virginia University to develop the program into an entire department. This department, entitled the Department of Forensic and Investigative Science, is not only the result of the reputation developed by the success of school’s program, it is also a response to the recognition of the growing popularity of forensic science as a field of pursuit as a whole. In essence, as the career path continues to hold a steady popularity, the officials at WVU thought a move of developing the program into an entire department was a logical next step.

Gerald Lang, of WVU’s Research office and Robert Jones, the dean of Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at WVU, have both worked to develop the program and its transition into a department. For Jones, the decision to deepen the existing program is a direct affirmation of the excellence and nation-wide reputation of the program. Lang has been selected as head of the department, where he will carry on with the work started by himself and Jones.

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Obtaining a Career in Forensics: Part I

Forensics is a science, which allows us to quickly answer questions as they pertain to law. During the past few years, forensic science has become more popular as a course of study. A few sources believe that forensic science’s rise in popularity is due to the amount of television shows which romanticize forensic science teams to portray them in a more interesting and exciting light. It takes a determined worth ethic and strict motivation in order to become a forensic scientist. A few careers within the forensic science field include; forensic engineer, forensic accountant, crime scene examiner, and laboratory analyst.

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Forensic Science Career Step 1: Start your path towards a career in forensic science by pursuing your interest in science. While gaining your forensic science education, you should expand your overall knowledge of science and learn about different fields and disciplines.

Forensic Science Career Step 2: When pursuing a career in forensic science, apply to highly rated universities or colleges, which have prominent, recognized programs for forensic science. If you can’t obtain a specific degree in forensic science, you should try to find a program of study that relates closely to forensic science. Degrees that will help you get a career in forensic science include: forensic archeology, pre-med, microbiology, dentistry, engineering, psychology, computer science, and accounting.

Forensic Science Career Step 3: To pursue a career in forensic science, you can also specialize or focus on law, police procedure, and criminal justice. These areas will help guide you toward your future career in forensic science.

Forensic Science Career Step 4: When pursuing your degree in forensic science and studying in your college or University, make sure that you graduate with high marks.

These are all ways that will help you grow closer to working in the forensic science field. This path begins with deciding on if you are interested in the science field- in particular the forensic science route. Becoming a forensic scientist takes work and effort, but if you are truly interested in the field, then you should begin by following the steps included above.

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