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The Forensics Department at Webster Groves High School (WGHS) in St. Louis, MO photographs footwear at local Walmart stores. This information is edited and maintained by students and staff at WGHS as a resource of the law enforcement community.
The reference collection includes images of the outsoles and uppers and attributes of the footwear items, including the make, model name, and model number.
WGHS also welcomes search requests if you have an unknown crime scene impression that you'd like the WGHS students to search. They do not claim to be forensic footwear experts, but they enjoy the opportunity to offer their search services to the law enforcement community.
Noblis is conducting a black box study to evaluate the accuracy and reproducibility of conclusions by practicing forensic tire examiners. This study will also assess what impact, if any, such factors as experience and training may have on examiner decisions. Noblis is conducting the study under a grant from the U.S. National Institute of Justice (NIJ).
Participants will be asked to examine 40-50 tire impression comparison sets over a period of approximately 5 months. Each comparison set will contain one questioned impression, two full circumference known test impressions, and one full circumference set of known tread images. Where possible, multiple images taken using varying lighting will be included. The test will be conducted entirely in a web-based format using high quality digital imagery. No physical test materials will be provided to participants. Participants are, however, permitted to download and print materials as needed to conduct the examination.
Participation is open to interested United States and international tire evidence examiners, including full and part-time examiners, who have (1) conducted operational casework within the past five years, (2) uses (or have used) a categorical conclusion scale (e.g., SWGTREAD 2013), and (3) are proficient in English.
Participation and results anonymity will be maintained through multiple levels of data anonymization and data segregation. Results will also be coded in a way that will allow participants to see their individual anonymized results after the completion of the study, if they so choose.
The test is expected to be available to participants Fall 2021.
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.