FIU forensic facility recognized for adopting national science standards

FIU’s Trace Evidence Analysis Facility was recognized by the National Institute of Standards and Technology-sponsored Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) as an implementer forensic laboratory.

The facility, led by FIU chemistry professor Jose Almirall, was awarded the certificate for adopting the approved standard for the analysis and comparison of glass evidence which were developed through collaborations with Almirall’s research group.  To date, only four other labs in the U.S. have received the official recognition as an OSAC Standard Implementer, Almirall said.

“Adoption of consensus-based standards helps to ensure the reliability of forensic science practice nationally,” he said. “The OSAC has now approved more than 35 standards on the registry and forensic laboratories should make it a priority to adopt the approved standards.”

Many lab directors across the country are taking steps to meet the approved standards, but the adoption process requires changes to the policies and procedures they already have in place, which stretches available resources.

The Trace Evidence Analysis Facility at FIU uses specialized instruments and methods developed to compare trace evidence materials including glass evidence. The facility has assisted several law enforcement agencies with the analysis of glass evidence including the Miami-Dade Police Department, and agencies in Maryland, North Carolina and Bermuda. Almirall and his team also have worked with the glass industry and many research labs.

Almirall and FIU Provost and Executive Vice President Kenneth G. Furton argued for the standardization of forensic processes in 1995. The National Institute of Standards and Technology and OSAC are promoting standardization for the benefit of the forensic science community and to raise public confidence in forensic practice.

Almirall chaired OSAC’s Chemistry and Instrumental Analysis committee and Furton led the subcommittee on Dogs and Sensors. They continue to advocate for the development and implementation of national standards in the forensic sciences.