The 2017 CSAFE All Hands Meeting provided community members across multiple universities and nations with an opportunity to come together to discuss a targeted approach for advancing the mission of the organization.   85 research team members, practitioners, students, and collaborators from around the world participated in the event, which amplified the need to increase engagement and further relationship building.

Research Updates Highlight CSAFE Collaboration

The conference began with research updates from CSAFE project leaders, enabling attendees to identify key examples of project partnerships that grow competence in the forensic science and legal communities through work on pattern evidence.

Jeffrey Holt, professor of statistics and University of Virginia said, “The research presentations were a helpful summary of what CSAFE has been doing.  It helped give me a big picture sense of our mission.”

NIST Forensic Science Program Manager Praises CSAFE Progress

National Institute of Standards and Technology Forensic Science Research and Special Programs Manager Susan Ballou applauded the work the CSAFE team is doing, and highlighted the success of the past two years.

Ballou said, “CSAFE has demonstrated amazing energy and in-depth research plans.  This event has provided a look into each of the projects, giving opportunity for everyone to comment.  I have seen everyone actively engaging in projects and adjusting accordingly. I’ve been impressed seeing this collaboration.”

Ballou provided a call to action for CSAFE members, encouraging the team to continue building relationships with practitioners through visits to federal and local crime labs.  She emphasized that when people start engaging with CSAFE, the team has won.

In addition, Ballou offered support for continuing to enhance efforts to demonstrate probabilistic application, providing practitioners with tools for objective evaluation of evidence. Ballou stated that she is confident CSAFE will succeed in this mission.

Meeting Concludes with Incentive to Enhance Relationship Building

CSAFE Director Alicia Carriquiry emphasized that the center’s goal is to transmit the ideas of what the center is doing by improving communication with community partners.

Carriquiry said, “We are working entirely enthusiastically and building community, let’s make CSAFE open to anyone who wants to work with us and NIST, and keep up the good work, I think we are working very well together.”

Building off Ballou’s remarks regarding the importance of cultivating trust between forensic science researchers and practitioners, Carriquiry inspired the CSAFE team to renew commitment for transparency between the two groups.

Moving forward, researchers plan to focus their efforts on fostering increased relationships with practitioners, lawyers, and judges. Together, CSAFE and forensic science professionals serve as the catalyst to the fair administration of justice.