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Law Enforcement Standards Office (OLES)
301-975-2756 or 2757 Telephone
301-948-0978 Facsimile
100 Bureau Drive, M/S 8102
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8102

Sue Ballou
Program Manager for Forensic Sciences

Robert Thompson
Program Manager Forensic Data Systems

John Paul Jones II
Working Group Program Manager

Melissa Taylor
Management and Program Analyst

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The NIST Forensic Science Program has a new website at www.nist.gov/forensics. Please bookmark it as this site will no longer be updated.

Feb. 4, 2014
A summary (opens pdf) of the NIST proposed plan for the Organization of Scientific Area Committees is now available. View a slide presentation by Mark Stolorow, Director of the NIST Law Enforcement Standards Office, on the plan by clicking here (link opens pdf).  The public comments received from the NIST Notice of Inquiry: Possible Models for the Administration and Support for Forensic Guidance Groups can be found here (opens pdf).

Forensic scientists use techniques from many areas of science to analyze evidence and to help solve crimes. At OLES, we support this important work by managing forensic science programs and directing research efforts to develop performance standards, guidelines, and reports to advance the technologies associated with the forensic science field. In addition, we support the development of innovative and validated test methods that will successfully undergo the scrutiny of our adversarial justice system. The research needed to complete these activities may take months or even years, but the final products ultimately support strengthening the scientific foundation of the forensic sciences.

Because of the diversity of forensic applications, we partner with other NIST laboratories and even other agencies to meet our goals. For example, projects relating to computer usage in crimes are based in the NIST Information Technology Laboratory. We work closely with the NIST Applied Genetics Group on DNA research and standards. We partner with other NIST groups to study bullet and toolmark standards and burn patterns. Together, we can ensure that forensic scientists have the information they need to calibrate their equipment, to draw conclusions based in solid science, and to communicate their results.

Selected Projects:

There are also a number of Scientific Working Groups that support various forensic science disciplines.

Forensic Events

View all past events with related material on the Forensic Events page.

Forensic News

New Fingerprint Analysis Models Are At Hand
August 28, 2013
Forensic Magazine
New ways of forensically considering less-than-certain evidence are emerging. Researchers are developing statistical models that quantify fingerprint evidence, opening ways for the inclusion of less-than-certain evidence in the identification process.

Dimensional Review of Scales for Forensic Photography
August 26, 2013
Forensic Magazine
NIST OLES worked with the NIST Dimensional Metrology Group and the University of Delaware to evaluate the quality of commercially available photo scales, to document manufacturing processes, and to suggest pathways for establishing standards for forensic photo scales that will serve as a means for ensuring accuracy and user confidence.

Collaboration with Industry Leads to Improved Forensics Work and Industry Growth
Aug. 20, 2013
NIST Physical Measurement Laboratory News
Three-dimensional (3D) scanners used at crime scenes for forensic investigations are not just the stuff of prime time television. Investigators and crime laboratories are using 3D laser scanning measurement systems to measure and model, in 3D simulations, the critical aspects of crime scenes.

Laser Visualization of Bullet Paths
July - August 2013
Evidence Technology Magazine
The use of lasers to assist in the visualization of bullet paths is a common method used during reconstruction of shooting scenes. Investigators may also use rods, probes, or strings to determine the bullet path, but lasers offer some advantages. This article covers methods to improve the use of lasers in crime scene analysis.

Nearly 50 Years Later, DNA Links Established between Boston Strangler, Victim
July 11, 2013
Naples News
On Thursday, authorities in Boston announced that the nearly 50-year-old evidence has produced a DNA match that links Albert DeSalvo, long suspected as the “Boston Strangler” responsible for 11 slayings, to Sullivan’s death.

Fluorescent Fingerprint Tag Aims to Increase IDs from 'Hidden' Prints On Bullets and Knives
July 2, 2013
Science Daily
A new way of detecting and visualizing fingerprints from crime scenes using colour-changing fluorescent films could lead to higher confidence identifications from latent (hidden) fingerprints on knives, guns, bullet casings and other metal surfaces. The technique is the result of a collaboration between the University of Leicester, the Institut Laue-Langevin and the STFC's ISIS pulsed neutron and muon source, and will be presented today at the Royal Society of Chemistry's Faraday Discussion in Durham.

New Orleans Sexual Assault Evidence Project: Results and Recommendations
June 2013
NIJ Journal
NIJ-sponsored project contributes to the growing body of evidence on how to handle untested sexual assault kits. In a one-year project that tested 1,000 sexual assault kits in New Orleans, there were hits against the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) that aided police investigations in 13 percent of the cases.

Science Standards Begin Long, Hard Road to Classroom
June 21, 2013
Implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards focuses attention on how U.S. school children learn science.

Research and Development of Impression Evidence
June 20, 2013
Forensic Magazine
An NIJ-funded research project studies new methods for preserving evidence that provide higher resolution casts, does not need to be prepared at the crime scene, and has a lower cost than conventional techniques.

>>see Forensic News Archive