Researchers at the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE) are working together with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to create a research database with realistic crime scene-like impressions. This database aims to enable the development of algorithms to aid practitioners as they carry out their examinations. To ensure that the database includes impressions relevant to the community, CSAFE is asking for your help.
The following survey will allow CSAFE to collect information about the type of impressions footwear examiners encounter as they complete casework. Your survey responses will guide the types of case-like impressions to be included in the research database. Responses will not be shared with anyone and will be used to understand which types of footwear evidence are the most commonly encountered.
Survey of Methods for Characterizing Footwear Evidence:
More about CSAFE footwear research:
On January 13, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) published a statement regarding the September 2016 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (“PCAST”) report titled, Forensic Science in Criminal Courts: Ensuring Scientific Validity of Feature Comparison Methods. According to DOJ, the report "contained several fundamentally erroneous claims. Among them were that 'feature comparison' methods belong to the scientific discipline of metrology (measurement science); that feature comparison methods can only be deemed 'foundationally valid' by adhering to PCAST’s mandatory and non-severable set of experimental design criteria; and that error rates for feature comparison methods can only be established using these 'appropriately designed' black box studies.
Access both the abstract and statement at DOJ's Forensic Science site.
Speir, J.A. (2020). Forensic Footwear Reliability: Part I—Participant Demographics and Examiner Agreement. (online version of record before inclusion in an issue)
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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has developed guidance documents governing the testimony and reports of its forensic experts. These documents, known as Uniform Language for Testimony and Reports (ULTR), are designed to provide guidance on the submission of scientific statements by the Department’s forensic examiners when drafting reports or testifying. This applies to those examiners employed by the ATF, DEA and FBI.
On June 8, 2020, DOJ approved ULTRs for both the Forensic Footwear Discipline and the Forensic Tire Discipline; these documents are now available online with an effective date of August 15, 2020. These two specific ULTRs apply to both ATF and FBI laboratory examiners who are authorized to prepare reports and provide expert witness testimony regarding forensic footwear and tire examinations.
It should be noted that the ULTRs are work product of DOJ and in no way are affiliated with the OSAC.