No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!
On March 28th, the NIJ released a competitive grant solicitation titled “Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA and Other Forensic Technologies.” This grant solicitation is the result of the Justice Served Act that was passed in October 2018 and is designed to provide funds for the prosecution of crimes solved through DNA testing. The act authorizes the use of funds under the Debbie Smith Act to provide the $5.5 million dollars available under this grant.
The U.K. Home Office today publishes a 13-point action plan to improve police forensics.
These commitments are designed to improve public confidence, support the criminal justice system and ensure the quality and stability of forensics provision.
The plan is published alongside the findings of a Home Office commissioned review into the provision of forensic services in policing, such as DNA and fingerprint evidence. It finds that urgent action is required to make the current system sustainable.
On Tuesday, the Oregon Senate took a step toward lowering the barriers after it unanimously passed a bill that modifies procedures by which person convicted of a felony initiates proceedings to obtain DNA testing.
Domestic dogs come in all shapes and sizes, but the animals we now regard as man’s best friend may have originated from just two populations of wolves, research suggests. The findings, along with studies on other domesticated animals, are providing new insights into how our ancestors’ lives and movements transformed these creatures forever.
On National DNA Day last year, criminal investigations involving DNA evidence took a dramatic step forward when the Sacramento, California, district attorney announced the arrest of 72-year old Joseph DeAngelo. This arrest had come using a game-changing nontraditional approach.
With the help of Rapid DNA technology, medical examiners were able to provide quicker closure for many families as compared to the weeks or months it can take to produce results in a traditional forensic lab. Funded in part by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), Rapid DNA technology positively identified 85 percent of the victims in the aftermath of the disaster. Two victims remain unaccounted for as of February 7, 2019.
The Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM) released its interpretation guidelines for next-gen sequencing (NGS) on Wednesday. The step answers the call of the U.S. National DNA Index System (NDIS) Procedures Board to provide ground rules for approving some systems that are ready to start providing analyses.
Five years ago, the two government agencies teamed up with local law enforcement to tackle the issue, and chip away at the massive backlogs of untested Sexual Assault Kits (SAKs) that have been creating headaches for crime-solvers nationwide.
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