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March 2020

The Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science Standards Bulletin provides an update on forensic science standards that are moving through the Registry Approval Process at OSAC and those moving through the development process at standards developing organizations (SDOs).

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Bulletin Summary

The OSAC Standards Bulletin is organized to capture the following standard development phases in the OSAC Registry Approval and SDO processes:

  • After being published by an SDO, selected standards and guidelines may proceed to the OSAC Registry Approval Process where they are evaluated further for technical merit and impact on the forensic science community.
  • In the SDO process, OSAC committees or task groups submit an idea (i.e., work item), a partially drafted document, or a fully drafted document to an SDO for further development, commenting, and publishing. 

Number of new standards placed on the OSAC Registry: none

Number of OSAC Registry documents open for comment: two (2) 

Number of SDO documents open for comment: twelve (12) 

OSAC Registry Updates

OSAC Registry Banner

The OSAC Registry serves as a trusted repository of high-quality, science-based standards and guidelines for forensic science practice.  A document included on the Registry has progressed through the formal SDO process and has been published as a standard.  OSAC elevates standards to the OSAC Registry as an endorsement of the document’s high quality and to encourage its adoption by relevant stakeholders in the forensic science community.

Intent to Add to the OSAC Registry - Items Open for Comment

OSAC is currently seeking feedback on whether the following standards should be included on the OSAC Registry.

  • ASB Technical Report 033, Terms and Definitions in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, First Edition, 2017. Submit your comments by 11:59 p.m. ET on April 3, 2020
  • ANSI/ASB Standard 072, Standard for the Validation of Procedures in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, First Edition, 2019. Submit your comments by 11:59 p.m. ET on April 3, 2020.

Standards Moving through the OSAC Registry Approval Process

In the Comment Adjudication Phase:

Sent Back to SDO for Revisions:

For a list of all standards currently under consideration, please visit the OSAC website

If your organization is on the "tip of the spear" and has already embraced the OSAC Registry implementation efforts, let us know!

Please email mark.stolorow@nist.gov to share your experience. 

SDO Updates

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Credit: Pixabay

The American Academy of Forensic Science Standards Board (ASB) announced in its February 28, 2020 Newsletter that it has published ANSI/ASB Standard 088, General Guidelines for Training, Certification, and Documentation of Canine Detection Disciplines, First Edition, 2020. This document, initially developed by OSAC’s Dogs & Sensors Subcommittee and finalized by the ASB Dogs and Sensors Consensus Body, contains requirements for the development of training for canine handlers and canines. It also details canine team assessments and the basis for certification procedures including record keeping and document management.

 

Comment Period Open on Draft Documents

Consider sharing your expertise by commenting on the following documents to ensure they are technically sound and aligned with the needs of the forensic science community,

ASB:

  • *Recirculation – ASB 053, Standard for Report Content in Forensic Toxicology. This document delineates the requirements for reporting results from forensic toxicology analyses. Specifically, it is intended for the sub-disciplines of human performance toxicology (e.g., driving- under-the-influence of alcohol or drugs and drug-facilitated crimes), postmortem forensic toxicology, non-regulated employment drug testing, court-ordered toxicology (e.g., probation and parole, drug courts, child services), and general forensic toxicology (e.g., non-lethal poisonings or intoxications). The document does not apply to the reporting of breath alcohol testing results. Comment deadline March 9, 2020.
  • *Recirculation – ASB 054, Standard for a Quality Control Program in Forensic Toxicology Laboratories. This document establishes minimum requirements for quality control practices in forensic toxicology laboratories. The document explains the importance of a quality control program, how to select and care for materials used to prepare quality control samples, proper preparation and use of calibrator and control samples, and requirements for their use in different types of assays. The document also provides direction for the review and monitoring of quality control data in forensic toxicology laboratories. This standard applies to laboratories performing forensic toxicological analysis in the following sub-disciplines: postmortem forensic toxicology, human performance toxicology (e.g., drug-facilitated crimes and driving under-the-influence of alcohol or drugs), non-regulated employment drug testing, court-ordered toxicology (e.g., probation and parole, drug courts, child services), and general forensic toxicology (non-lethal poisonings or intoxications). It is not intended for the area of breath alcohol toxicology. Comment deadline March 9, 2020. 
  • ASB 024, Crime Scene/Death Investigation – Dogs and Sensors, Pre-Scented Canines – Location Check. This document provides the requirements for pre-scented canine - location check search using a canine team to search for and identify a specific person’s (target) scent at a given location. Comment deadline March 16, 2020.
  • ASB 026, Crime Scene/Death Investigation – Dogs and Sensors, Pre-Scented Canines – Aged Trail Search. This document provides the requirements for training, certification and documentation pertaining to pre-scented canine-aged track/trail search. Pre-scented canine aged trail searches use a canine team (canine and handler) to search for and follow aged trails of a specific person’s (target) scent over different surface types. An aged track/trail is a human scent pathway that has been present for some period, typically expressed with a time frame associated with the track/trail (e.g., a 24 hour or older track/trail). Comment deadline March 16, 2020.
  • ASB 027, Crime Scene/Death Investigation – Dogs and Sensors, Patrol Dogs: Tracking/Trailing/Area Search/Building Search/Evidence Search of One or More Persons Based on Last Known Position. This document will provide standards for the training, certification, and documentation pertaining to canine teams (canine and handler) trained to search for specific person(s), location(s), and/or article(s) by starting from the last known position. This pertains to trails less than 24 hours old. Comment deadline March 16, 2020. 
  • ASB 050, Best Practice Recommendation for Photographic Documentation of Footwear and Tire Impression Evidence. This document provides the best practice recommendations for personnel responsible for documenting and photographing footwear and tire impressions for future examinations. Deviations from this document may/may not preclude examination of captured images. Comment deadline March 16, 2020.
  • *Recirculation – ASB 077, Standard for the Developmental and Internal Validation of Forensic Serological Methods. This standard provides requirements for developmental and internal validations of forensic serological methods to evaluate body fluids, stains, or residues related to forensic investigations. This standard does not address validation of forensic DNA analysis procedures. Comment deadline March 23, 2020.
  • *Recirculation – ASB 110, Standard for Training in Forensic Serological Methods. This standard provides the general requirements for a forensic serology training program to evaluate body fluids, stains, or residues related to forensic investigations. This standard does not address training in forensic DNA analysis procedures. Comment deadline March 23, 2020.
  • *Recirculation – ASB 116, Standard for Training in Forensic DNA Quantification Methods. This standard provides the requirements for a forensic DNA laboratory’s training program in DNA quantification. Comment deadline March 23, 2020.
  • *Recirculation – ASB 117, Standard for the Examination of Stamp Impressions and Stamping Devices. This standard provides procedures to be used by forensic document examiners for forensic examinations and comparisons involving stamp impressions (often referred to as rubber stamp impressions) and stamping devices. Comment deadline March 23, 2020.
  • ASB 055, Standard for Breath Alcohol Measuring Instrument Calibration. This standard is applicable to the calibration of breath alcohol measuring instruments for evidentiary purposes. These minimum requirements are included for (1) the development and validation of calibration methods on these instruments; (2) evaluation of performance following adjustments and calibrations; and (3) monitoring the validity of the calibrations performed. This standard is not intended to cover preliminary (non-evidentiary) testing, ignition interlock, or federally regulated testing. Comment deadline March 30, 2020.

*Please note that comments on a re-circulation will only be accepted on revised sections of a document, comments made to text not revised from the original comment period will not be accepted. 

For the ASB documents listed above, download the comment template and return it to asb@aafs.org by the comment deadline. 

American Dental Association (ADA):

  • ADA Technical Report No. 1077 for Human Age Assessment by Dental Analysis. This document describes the methodologies and best practices for estimating the chronologic age of a living or deceased individual by analysis of the human dentition and associated maxillofacial structures. Contact standards@ada.org to receive a copy of the document and the comment template. Comment deadline April 16, 2020.

New Work Proposals for New or Revised Standards

The following documents are being initiated and are expected to result in new or revised standards.

ASB:

  • On February 28, 2020 a Project Initiation Notification System (PINS) was published on page 22 in the ANSI Standards Action. This will begin a 30-day period for public comment on the initiation of ASB’s work on the following documents:
    • BSR/ASB Std 127-202x, Standard for the Preservation and Examination of Charred Documents. This new document establishes the minimum required procedure(s) used by Forensic Document Examiners (FDE) in the preservation of, examination of, and reporting on charred documents. This generally includes the examination of charred documents for content (writing, printing), material (paper, cardboard, plastic, etc.), and source determination. This does not include chemical examination of documents for accelerants or source of combustion.
    • BSR/ASB Std 128-2020x, Standard for the Preservation and Examination of Liquid Soaked Documents. This document establishes the minimum required procedure(s) used by Forensic Document Examiners (FDE) in the preservation of, examination of, and reporting on liquid soaked documents. This generally includes the examination of documents exposed to liquids (water, blood, oils, etc.) for content (writing, printing), material (paper, cardboard, plastic, etc.) and source determination. This standard does not include the examination of documents for the identification of the liquid contaminate(s).

Contact Teresa Ambrosius (tambrosius@aafs.org) for more information on the proposed ASB documents or to submit your comments. 

Other News

Submit Your Feedback: Standard Implementation Survey

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The ASCLD Forensic Research Committee and Standards & Accreditation Initiatives Committee have developed a web-based online survey to capture baseline information related to the extent to which documents developed or approved by OSAC have been implemented or intend to be implemented into agency/organization standard operating procedures. Our colleagues at the International Association for Identification (IAI) are also supporting the ASCLD with capturing this baseline information by further distributing the survey to the IAI membership. Forensic science professionals actively working in agencies/organizations providing forensic science services are encouraged to participate in this 15-minute survey.

Read more about the benefits of the survey and next steps in the February 10, 2020 edition of the ASCLD Crime Lab Minute. 

Take the survey by March 31, 2020 to help the forensic science community better understand the issues surrounding implementation and develop solutions to lower the barriers.