Science News – February 22, 2013


The federal government announces plans to create a national forensic science commission, Denver proposes a switch for more civilian technicians in the crime lab and Cook County officials discover 51 untested rape kits. Here is this week’s roundup of forensic news:


The National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Commerce

agreed to work together to address the lack of national standards in forensic sciences and create a National Commission



In an effort to save money and place more police in active roles patrolling the community,

a police chief in Colorado will replace crime lab officers with civilians who possess a background in science

. While transitioning to civilian technicians has been successful in labs across the country, the county district attorney argues that it cannot be done properly under the proposed timeline.


To improve the efficacy of DNA databases, law professors Brandon Garrett and Erin Murphy argue that

more DNA samples need to be collected from crime scenes rather than arrestees

. The practice would also reduce the risk of racial disparity in DNA databases.


Fifty-one Cook County rape kits, dating back to 1986, were

recently found untested on a shelf in a police evidence room

. As officials look for answers as to how the evidence was misplaced, the Illinois State Police lab will begin conducting testing.

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