Police crime labs across the country are benefiting from technologies such as DNA testing, global positioning system (GPS) technology, digital imagery, and databases for fingerprints, tire tracks, and shoe prints. But experts stress that these tools need to be combined with witness interviews, motive, and other investigative approaches before evidence can be linked to a particular person.
Courts in New York have since 2001 allowed the use of DNA evidence derived from short tandem repeat (STR) testing.
W. Mark Dale at the State University of New York at Albany’s Northeast Regional Forensic Institute notes that evidence “needs a seamless chain of custody” as well as be “protected from degradation.”
The forensic institute offers a 12-week, 12-credit program at the graduate level targeted to those with degrees in biology or chemistry. Participants learn about laboratory processes, microbiology, and presenting evidence in criminal trials.
A total of 48 individuals graduated in 2006, but many more such trained workers are needed to fulfill demand.
Al Pola, an instructor at Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES, teaches students in the Legal Professions program how to roll fingerprints using a card and ink because not all police departments can afford automated fingerprinting systems.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Auburn Citizen (02/03/07); Elliott-Engel, Amaris.