July 11, 2014 -
The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Justice have appointed 17 members of a new organization that is designed to identifying, developing and adopting the standards and guidelines for the U.S. forensic science community.
These academic researchers and forensic science experts have been named to the Forensic Science Standards Board, who will serve terms of two, three, or four years, in an effort to achieve continuity. In the future, appointed board members will all serve three-year terms.
The board is an important part of NIST’s Organization of Scientific Area Committees, which is helping to establish a more organized structure to what was previously an ad hoc system.
“The appointments to the Forensic Science Standards Board essentially mark a transition from planning to doing,” said NIST acting director Willie May. “After months of collaboration with the forensic science community, we are bringing to life this new organization that will have a positive impact on the practice of forensic science in the United States.”
Planet Biometrics notes that Michigan State University’s Anil Jain is among the appointed and recalls that “after analyzing data from the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, Jain was able to use facial recognition software to identify one of the suspects.”
The board will ultimately lead three resource committees and five scientific area committees, with subcommittees focusing on the areas of DNA, toxicology, medico-legal death investigation, facial identification, latent fingerprints and firearms and toolmarks, as well as many others.
The subcommittees’ main responsibility will be to pitch various consensus documentary standards, which will be voted on by the board, in an effort to better the quality and consistency of forensic science research.
The NIST and DOJ collaborated to establish the OSAC, which appointed members of a new National Commission on Forensic Science back in January.
A NIST-DOJ membership selection team is currently looking at applications to fill all the remaining OSAC positions. These appointments will be announced soon after they are completed.