Training for the New Age in Forensic Science
September 18, 2017
As forensic science advances at lightning speed – with new technology changing fundamentals processes and procedures – training is more essential than ever. And with OSAC (Organization of Scientific Area Committees) creating and enforcing new training standards for the forensic community, including how we train our practitioners, tolerance for incomplete or insufficient training is becoming a thing of the past. Gone are the days when a two-week training program, taught by someone who recently graduated from that same two-week training program, gets the job done. If it ever did. And that’s a good thing.
Providing training related to latent prints can be one of the most complex and time-consuming of all forensic disciplines. Many agencies have started to look toward new approaches. This can include providing an online computer-based approach.
Keeping in mind across-the-board challenges to make ends meet while increasing productivity, what is the primary requirement for a training program in today’s forensic department? Deliver maximum benefit with minimal impact on resources.
To ensure that your latent training program does just that, here are five benefits to this type of approach:
- Organized and Sustainable Training Materials
No more searching in filing cabinets and drawers, making copies, and worrying about wear and tear on materials. A complete latent print training program should reside in one place: desktops (on yours and those of your trainees). There, topic-specific training modules including lectures, assignments, exercises, and tests, are easy to access and update. What’s more, the quality of the latent is constant, and the latent image is new and unmarked every time.
- Easy to Use and Manage
Using an internal messaging system to assign exercises, administer tests, and alert trainees that work awaits them saves time, increases efficiency, and keeps training moving forward. A system that does this, AND notifies the trainer when work is ready for review or grading, is a big step forward in streamlining the training process. An additional leap forward comes with auto-grading, at the click of a mouse. Being able to generate reports that summarize trainee progress can be especially useful when training records are requested for either court or accreditation assessments.
- Hands-on Comprehensive Training
A system that allows trainees hands-on practice with tools that will be part of their job, capturing their “analysis” observations and documenting their findings for the trainer to review and discuss with them, is crucial to quick acclimation and success. For instance, with a built-in GYRO system and a full set of markup and annotation tools, trainees can contemporaneously transfer their observations, interpretations, thought processes, and conclusions directly to the screen, having identified minutiae and assigned corresponding confidence levels.
- Adaptable to Your Needs
Because every agency or department has its own way of doing things, a system that allows exercises and tests to be tailored or modified to fit your department is key. For instance, being able to choose from a series of exercises for latent comparison images, having them range from easy to very difficult, each with ground truth, provides maximum flexibility and customization. Additionally, a system that provides depth of choices is essential.
- Will Help Meet OSAC Training Standards
The introduction of OSAC will change the forensic landscape. Comprehensive standards with requirements that are more rigid and demanding, including those written for training, will be enforced. Having a system in place that prepares for this eventuality, ensuring compliance with standards via an ability to modify existing content, takes the guesswork out of accreditation compliance.
There’s no doubt that revolutionary change is coming to forensic training. As with most challenges, having the right tools is a critical first step.
Mideo TrainingWorks Fingerprint Comparison Training program offers training, tools, and standardization for the new age of forensic science technology training. Check it out at TrainingWorks.