Technical Innovations in Management and Infrastructure Projects
- Interstate Remote Peer Review
- Developing a Customer Satisfaction Survey for Forensic Laboratories
- Process Mapping Team Training and Analysis Protocol Development and Trial
- Feasibility and Proof of Concept of Utilizing Radio Frequency Identification Tagging - 2005
Brian Mennecke, Anthony Townsend, and Kevin Scheibe, Iowa State University
The sheer number of evidentiary items in any particular case is growing. These items have an increasing number of complex interrelationships that must be captured, maintained, tracked, and accounted for. Additionally, there are an increasing number of processes that require a large number of procedural steps and the integrity of the process must not only be maintained but verifiable. This evidentiary process is essentially an inventory management problem and one of the most recent developments in inventory management is the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) tagging to track and maintain accurate data concerning the inventory items. We are proposing a pilot test of RFID technology in the forensic laboratory environment, specifically a DNA analysis laboratory application. We hope to demonstrate the practical utilization of this technology to not only solve tracking and verification issues, but to enhance the data tracking and the assurance of procedural continuity in accordance with accepted scientific practice.
- Identifying and Modeling System Requirements for Forensic Laboratory Information Management Systems - 2004
Anthony Hendrickson, Brian Mennecke, Anthony Townsend, and Kevin Scheibe, Iowa State University
As the workload for criminal forensic laboratories grows, so too will the need for these labs to better manage their laboratory environments. Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) provide forensic labs with a platform for collecting, storing, and managing laboratory information. A variety of LIMS products are available on the market today with systems designed for a number of diverse applications both related to and unrelated to forensic analyses (e.g., medical labs have different requirements than do forensic labs). This makes the selection of the appropriate LIMS system difficult in light of the variety of forensic applications and numerous LIMS products. We are proposing a project to identify the requirements that forensic laboratories have for LIMS Systems, to develop a process model of the data flow activities in the typical forensic laboratory, and design guidelines for selecting, purchasing, and implementing these systems. We will use interviews, focus groups, conjoint methodology, and structured information requirements analysis and data gathering to capture information about the core requirements for LIMS systems in forensic laboratories. We will then synthesize this information with methodologies used in industry for selecting complex information technologies.
Final Report (2.8 Mbytes)
ASCLD recommends peer review and peer verification as part of the quality assurance process for crime lab work. Due to the low numbers of specialized forensic personnel, it is often necessary to call on a â€œpeerâ€ from another organization within the same state or in a different state to accomplish the review process. This project targets the peer review on firearms verification as part of a Memorandum of Understanding between the South Dakota State Forensic Laboratory in Pierre and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Forensic Science Laboratory in Bemidji. The review involves video conferencing facilities connecting Bemidji, MN to Pierre, SD. A high resolution camera is mounted on a microscope for the video conferencing. This permits the remote firearms examiner to review the firearms evidence at the same time as the local firearm examiner. The arrangement is developed with the agency IT staff to satisfy agency security protocols. Specific project objectives are: 1) to identify and test components needed for remote peer review and peer verification, 2) to develop a prototype process and define a procedure for remote peer review, and 3) to develop a prototype process and define a procedure for remote peer verification process.
The following proposal is for the development of a customer satisfaction survey methodology, compliant with both ISO and ASCLD recommendations. The process will involve a series of interviews and focus groups, followed by the development of the survey instrument and usage methodology. A test of the instrument will also be conducted with a few laboratories and some of their key customers, following this; the survey will be processed into its final format. This final survey, along with a detailed usage methodology designed to lead to continuous customer relationship improvement, will be the project's ultimate deliverable.
Process mapping is an illustrated description of how things get done. This enables the participants to visualize an entire process and identify its areas of strength and weakness. Process maps help reduce cycle times and defects while recognizing the value of individual contributions. The objective of this project is to modify existing process mapping training content to address crime laboratories, to develop protocols, and to prepare teams of personnel from the crime labs in the region to perform process mapping and management-process reviews. The newly trained team will then perform a process mapping trial activity at one of the region's labs. Afterwards, the team will refine the mapping process based on the outcome, and the results will be reported to the forensic community. The team will then begin working with other laboratories in the region.