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Department of Justice and the National Institute of Standards and Technology Name New Member of National Commission on Forensic Science

DOJ Contact: Office of Public Affairs, 202-514-2007

WASHINGTON—The Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today announced the appointment of Randy Hanzlick, M.D. to the National Commission on Forensic Science (NCFS.) Dr. Hanzlick also accepted the invitation to serve as the NCFS Medicolegal Death Investigation subcommittee co-chair alongside NCFS Commissioner John Fudenberg.

The commission, created in 2013, develops forward-looking policy recommendations for the Attorney General to enhance the practice and improve the reliability of forensic science. The commission is co-chaired by Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates, and Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Dr. Willie E. May. Deputy Assistant Administrator Nelson Santos of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Office of Forensic Sciences and Special Assistant John M. Butler to the NIST Director for Forensic Science serve as vice-chairs.

“The Department of Justice remains committed to advancing the use of forensic science and the commission continues to make important recommendations and be an integral part of that work,” said Deputy Attorney General Yates. “Medicolegal death investigation has been among the commission’s areas of focus and has led to several recommendations. I look forward to Dr. Randy Hanzlick continued discussions and contributions in this area.” 

“We are grateful to Dr. Hanzlick for his willingness to serve on this very important commission,” said Under Secretary May. “We could not accomplish our goal of improving the practice of forensic science without such nationally respected experts. His addition will really strengthen our efforts around medical death investigations.”

Dr. Randy Hanzlick is recently retired from his position of 18 years as Chief of the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office. He has 33 years of experience as a forensic pathologist, including nearly a decade at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  He is a past President of the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) and co-chaired the Scientific Working Group on Medicolegal Death Investigation with fellow Commissioner John Fudenberg. He has over 200 publications and has been a faculty member of Emory University. Dr. Hanzlick has received numerous professional awards, including the Helpern Laureate Award, the highest honor awarded by NAME. Throughout his career, Dr. Hanzlick has been involved in efforts to improve medicolegal death investigation systems, guidelines and standards of forensic pathology practices and the education of young forensic pathologists. He is credited with assisting in the development of CDC Sudden Unexplained Infant Death forms, National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Death Scene Investigation Guidelines and the NIJ National Missing and Unidentified program.  
Dr. Hanzlick replaces Dr. Vincent Di Maio, who recently resigned from the commission.

The National Commission on Forensic Science includes federal, state and local forensic science service providers; research scientists and academics; law enforcement officials; prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges; and other stakeholders from across the country. This breadth of experience and expertise reflects the many different entities that contribute to forensic science practice in the U.S. and will ensure that these broad perspectives are represented on the commission and in its work.

The commission’s next quarterly meeting will be held from Jan. 9 to 10, 2017, at the Office of Justice Programs, 3rd Floor Main Conference Room, 810 7th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20531. More information about the commission can be found at


Released December 13, 2016, Updated January 8, 2018