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Spotlight: Forensics Videos and App for Collecting Trace Evidence

Person pours a cream-colored liquid alongside a shoeprint in the dirt.
Credit: NIST/RTI International

When it comes to crime scene investigation, a lot needs to happen behind the scenes so that judges and juries can trust the validity of evidence presented at trial. NIST is teaming up with forensic laboratories and other institutions to standardize the processes. 

Tire tracks left in the mud, paint samples from the side of a car, gunshot residue on hands — not all evidence is the same. Crime scene teams and law enforcement officers need to know, step by step, how to handle and collect each type. 

Their cases depend on it. 

So, we’ve brought their written reference guide to the multimedia stage with videos on topics such as ...

  • Casting 3D footwear and tire impressions 
  • Removing and securing ropes, cordage and tape 
  • Collecting and packaging broken glass samples 

… and more. 

Through the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science in partnership with RTI International, NIST updated a mobile app originally developed by Forensic Technology Center of Excellence with RTI through funding received from the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Now, from anywhere and at any time, investigators can train or refresh their memory on all sorts of evidence collection techniques. 

Learn more about the app and videos.

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Released January 8, 2024