The ISHI 26 agenda is already filling up with some great talks from amazing speakers! While the forensic community is a tight-knit group, we can always get a little closer, right? With that in mind, we asked our speakers some questions to get to know them a little better outside of their work. We’ll be posting their responses over the coming months in a feature we like to call Under the Microscope.
Today, we’re chatting with Daniel Román, who will be presenting Suspect Attempts to Derail Police Investigation by Planting False Evidence at a Homicide Scene, DNA to the Rescue. “Drats! Foiled Again…”
Daniel S. Román is an Investigator with the Madison Police Department, and has been with the Forensic Services Unit since 1992. He received his B.A. from Harvard University in 1977 and his M.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1979. Mr. Román was the Past-President of Wisconsin Association for Identification (Division of IAI), and has taught Forensic Science for Concordia University and Herzing College. He is a state certified Instructor in Physical Evidence for Law Enforcement, and his hobbies are calligraphy and collecting antique fountain pens.
How did you come to work in the field of forensics/DNA?
I started off as a patrol officer in 1984, became interested in crime scene investigations and wrote for promotion to become an Investigator. I’ve worked in that capacity for over 22 years, attending various training programs in death investigations, bloodstain pattern analysis, crime scene reconstruction, shooting reconstruction, identification of DNA source material and collection, fingerprint processing and comparison.
If you woke up tomorrow and this field no longer existed, what would you choose for a career?
I trained in college to teach Spanish Literature, 15-16th century, with a minor in medieval Italian. I would happily go back to that.
What new technologies are you most excited about or where do you see the field heading in the next 10 years?
RapidDNA processing. As a police officer I see that as an incredible tool for identifying recovered bodies, suspects of violent crimes, and helping in locating and identifying victims of human trafficking.
What was the most challenging or bizarre case that you’ve worked on?
A death investigation that appeared to be a violent homicide and ended up as a massive cerebral aneurysm.
What person would you say has had the biggest influence in your life?
My parents came to the US in the early 1950’s. Both had only gotten to the third grade in school in Puerto Rico before having to find jobs. Neither learned formal English but managed to survive in the US, rearing a family of 6 and instilling in all of us an appreciation for education. I went on to graduate from Harvard with high honors and my parents were able to attend my commencement ceremonies. They were always my inspiration.
Who in the audience would benefit most from your talk?
Crime Scene Investigators and DNA technicians that work in the field. It is all about knowing where to look for evidence, and looking for those things that just don’t seem to “fit,” or don’t belong where they are at.
If you won the lottery, what would you do with the winnings?
I’ve been a Girl Scout adult volunteer for 25 years so a big chunk would go to that, I survived leukemia so some would go to cancer research, and then college funding for family members. And certainly would retire from Law Enforcement and go back to teaching.
If you were to have a theme song, what would it be?
Fire and Rain, James Taylor
What would your ideal vacation be?
A prolonged trip to Italy for a “cooking” vacation, traveling throughout the country to learn the cooking styles of the various regions….and experiencing all of the history and culture of Italy.
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