The Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science’s Footwear & Tire Subcommittee has developed a process map that describes the process that most footwear and tire examiners use when analyzing evidence.
Footwear and tire examiners are required to make many decisions that can impact the quality and accuracy of their results. The Footwear and Tire Examination Process Map captures details about the various procedures, methods and decision points most frequently encountered in the discipline of footwear and tire examination and comparison.
“The process map is an amazing achievement by the task group that will become a great resource for the community. Firstly, this depiction of the current comparative process equips us to start to speak the same language, secondly it can be a great tool for training new practitioners and above all it will give us insight into where new standards are needed,” said David Kanaris, Chair of OSAC’s Footwear & Tire Subcommittee.
This process map, which reflects the ‘as is’ state of footwear and tire examination, provides a visual description of the various steps of the casework process currently performed and is limited to core processes within the discipline of footwear and tire examination such as the examination of questioned footwear and tire impressions and the comparison of these impressions to known footwear or tires. It captures the diverse practices of multiple laboratories from a national perspective, with the goal of allowing an examiner to find their processes represented in the map.
“The process map has already pointed us in the direction of producing a best practice recommendation on technical review and verification for the discipline. I’m excited to see the next, more interactive iteration of this document in the future,” Kanaris said.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which is working to strengthen the practice of forensic science through research and improved standards, facilitated the development of this process map through a collaboration between the NIST Forensic Science Research Program and OSAC’s Footwear & Tire Subcommittee. Additional process maps have been produced for DNA, firearms examinations, friction ridge examinations, and speaker recognition.