Crime Scene Investigator Network

Crime Scene Investigator Network Newsletter

March 2017
This month's newsletter is brought to you by the 2017 CSI Academy

Don't Forget Those Standards!

Crime Laboratory Division
Missouri State Highway Patrol

Evidence examination, whether it is soil, body fluids, glass, hair, or even fibers, often requires a comparison of unknown samples with a known portion of the material being analyzed. Most crime scene investigators can readily recognize and collect relevant crime scene evidence; however, the laboratory has seen an increase in the number of cases lacking appropriate reference standards.

A standard is an item obtained from a known source, such as pulled head hair collected from Suspect A. Standards are used for comparison purposes to establish a link between the crime scene evidence and the known individuals or objects involved. For example, the pulled hair from Suspect A can be compared to the hair collected from a victim's clothing to determine if Suspect A can be included or excluded as the donor of the hair found on the victim.

Most disciplines in the lab require standards in routine analysis. Use the appropriate section(s) from this guide when collecting and submitting evidence to the laboratory for analysis. Quality forensic science depends on good, thorough police work.


For every case submitted requiring DNA exams, a blood or buccal (cheek cell) standard MUST be submitted from each individual involved. This includes both the victim(s) and suspect(s). If blood is submitted, use a purple capped blood tube. If a buccal swab is submitted, be sure to properly air dry the swab and place in a paper material container. Label all items (tubes, envelopes, etc.) with the source (contributor) of the standard. Standards must also be packaged separately from any unknown evidence samples.

Elimination standards may be necessary in certain instances, such as when a sexual assault occurs on bedding belonging to someone other than the victim and the suspect. The owner of the bedding must contribute a standard for elimination purposes.

If a sample just cannot be obtained, such as when a body has been cremated, a secondary standard (a toothbrush or comb as sources of DNA, for example) may be acceptable. Contact the lab for further instruction in such cases.

DNA exams will not be attempted until the lab receives all appropriate standards.

Latent Prints

Standards for print comparison are the customary 10-print card taken upon arrest of a suspect. 10-print cards may also be used for elimination purposes, as well. 10-print cards are required for a complete examination for all latent print submissions. Send a photocopy or fax of the original card only as a last resort.

When obtaining a set of inked impressions, place the prints in the appropriate spaces provided on the 10-print card, completing both the rolled print and simultaneous print portions.

Using the appropriate amount of ink is crucial to ensure the impressions are not too dark or light.

Inked palm prints are rarely submitted; surprisingly, 50% of the lab's casework involves latent palm prints. Collect these standards if the case may involve palm prints.

Firearm / Toolmark / Impression

The lab secures known test standards from a particular item of evidence in these types of cases. The criminalist obtains test bullets, cartridge cases, or shotshells from a suspect firearm during test firings, toolmarks from the tool in question, and test impressions from suspect articles, such as shoes or tires.

Once the criminalist obtains and compares standards to an unknown ammunition component, toolmark, or impression from a crime scene, they become part of the evidence which made them. They are returned upon case completion to the submitting agency, which is responsible for the preservation and storage of the test standards for future reference.

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This Month's Featured Resource on the Crime Scene Investigator Network Website

Just as today's law enforcement officer has learned to look routinely for fingerprints to identify the perpetrator of a crime, that same officer needs to think routinely about evidence that may contain DNA. Recent advancements in DNA technology are enabling law enforcement officers to solve cases previously thought to be unsolvable. Today, investigators with a fundamental knowledge of how to identify, preserve, and collect DNA evidence properly can solve cases in ways previously seen only on television. Evidence invisible to the naked eye can be the key to solving a residential burglary, sexual assault, or child's murder. It also can be the evidence that links different crime scenes to each other in a small town, within a single State, or even across the Nation.

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New CSI and Forensic Job Announcements

The most comprehensive listing of Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic
employment opportunities on the internet! We typically have over 250 current listings!

To be notified of job openings as they are posted, follow us on Twitter: Job Posting Alerts
or sign up for daily email alerts: Daily Job Posting Alert Emails

Forensic Technician (Evidence Technician)
Suffolk Police Department, Suffolk, Virginia, USA

Final Filing Date: March 27, 2017
Performs technical and coordinating work to collect, preserve, analyze, and process evidence associated with crimes under investigation by the City Police Department.
<View complete job listing>
Forensic Identification Specialist
Torrance Police Department, Torrance, California, USA

Final Filing Date: March 28, 2017
Apply specialized techniques in identifying, documenting, collecting and preserving all types of physical and biological evidence, to include all types of friction skin evidence, casting of shoe wear and other impression evidence; take still and video photographs and/or recordings pertaining to all aspects of crime scene investigations; and to utilize various chemical processes to develop latent prints and to provide expert testimony to both comparisons of partial and distorted friction skin evidence and crime scene investigations.
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Forensic Scientist
Oklahoma City Police Department, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

Final Filing Date: March 19, 2017
This position is located in the DNA/Serology Laboratory of the Oklahoma City Police Department. Essential job functions include: assisting in evidence collection; conducting Serological and DNA analyses and microscopic examinations of materials and ensuring proper storage; preparing standard and special reports;
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Latent Fingerprint Examiner
Saint Louis Police Department, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

Final Filing Date: March 6, 2017
Classifies and compares latent fingerprint evidence to identify and eliminate suspects of crimes. Evaluates latent fingerprint evidence for possible value. Processes evidence for possible latent fingerprints using powders or chemicals, and then photographs evidence. Testifies in court regarding latent fingerprint evidence identifications.
<View complete job listing>
Property and Evidence Custodian
Washington State Patrol, Toxicology Laboratory, Seattle, Washington, USA

Final Filing Date: March 16, 2017
The Property and Evidence Custodian provides customer service, receiving physical evidence into the laboratory and releasing back to the submitting agency and records management at the Toxicology Laboratory.
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Medicolegal Death Investigator Supervisor
Maricopa County Medical Examiner, Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Final Filing Date: March 23, 2017
Provide supervision to a group of Medicolegal Death Investigators in order to promote effective and efficient investigations for deaths that are within the jurisdiction of the Medical Examiner.
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CSI in the News

Standard DNA Testing Can't Differentiate Between Identical Twins. A New Test Challenges That
"Next generation," or "massive parallel," sequencing, as it's called, enables scientists to map out the genome of each twin. That's the entire set of genetic instructions in the bundles of DNA — the chromosomes — found in every cell.
WBUR News - David Boeri - March 7, 2017

DNA forensics is not an infallible tool — but not because of science
Since DNA has taken over fingerprints or hair analysis as the most "scientific" method of crime scene forensics, a number of blunders involving mishandling of DNA have contaminated not only DNA samples, but also the reliability of criminal investigations.
Genetic Literacy Project - Andrew Porterfield - March 3, 2017

Central Coast Cyber Forensic Lab Houses Everything Needed to Produce Critical Digital Evidence
The forensic lab, which will house six or seven technicians, provides a place where San Luis Obispo County, Calif., law enforcement can collaborate to solve difficult — perhaps even previously unsolvable — cases.
Government Technology - Andrew Sheeler - March 2, 2017

Glowing, 'Living' Gloves Could Aid Crime-Scene Investigations
One day, glowing gloves made of a "living material" could replace the "CSI"-style black lights currently used to detect certain substances in crime-scene investigations and other scientific applications, according to a new study.
Live Science - Kacey Deamer - March 1, 2017

Why Nobody Remembers the Forefather of Forensic Science
Recent archival research revealed that Souder worked on over 800 criminal cases between 1929 and 1954—and given Souder's careful disguise of prominent cases to avoid leaks, many may have been prominent. The most famous that is known today happened in the early 1930s after the kidnapping and murder of iconic aviator Charles Lindbergh's baby.
SMITHSONIAN.COM - Erin Blakemore - February 28, 2017

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Other Resources on the Crime Scene Investigator Network Website
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