Iowa Public Radio recently explored the current state of forensic science with CSAFE director Dr. Alicia Carriquiry. She was joined by center partners at The Innocence Project and Houston Forensic Science Center. If you missed “Mitigating Flaws in Forensic Science,” you can still review online or on the podcast.

Carriquiry highlighted that forensic science is missing experiments that allow estimation of error rates, lending uncertainty to analysis methods.

“If you asked a firearms examiner ‘what do you think the error rate in the field is?’ They can’t really tell you because there’s never been any really well designed carefully carried out experiments to see, for example, if examiners are right 95% of the time on average,” she said.

Carriquiry explained to listeners that to address these concerns, CSAFE research is done in cooperation with practitioners.

“If we want to come up with meaningful solutions, we absolutely need to work alongside the forensic scientists,” she said. “Otherwise, we’re just another research organization that is just doing research for the fun of research and we want to have a mission here.”

The program concluded with Carriquiry’s invitation to involve the community in CSAFE forensic science.

“One of the things we’ve been thinking about doing at CSAFE is involving citizens in our science. Much of the research we do depends on data- for example on having a very large collection of shoeprint of different brands and sizes,” Carriquiry stated. “We’ve been thinking of ways of involving citizens, church groups or the boy scouts to collect data for us.”

If your organization is interested in contributing to CSAFE research, please reach out to our team.

 

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