Jeff Salyards joined the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE) in April as a research scientist. In his new capacity, Salyards will develop collaborative relationships with forensic scientists in private, federal and state crime and forensic laboratories.
“Crime laboratory directors have great ideas and capable scientists. They also have overwhelming caseloads and demands on their time. Very few have the capacity to direct research projects and foster innovation,” Salyards said. “CSAFE has done a great job of working with the forensic science community to identify areas that are ripe for more quantitative approaches and the use of statistics. Many of these projects are ready to move to operational prototype testing. This translation from academic to operational is a challenge in every field. I hope to use my experience and relationships to find the right partners for these next steps.”
Salyards involvement with CSAFE began several years ago after becoming a member of the Strategic Advisory Board. The board provides direction to the Center’s research activities and outreach initiatives. He recently co-authored a paper on blind proficiency testing with CSAFE researchers Robin Mejia, CSAFE co-director and director of the Statistics and Human Rights Program at Carnegie Mellon University, and Maria Cuellar, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
“We are tremendously excited to have Dr. Salyards join CSAFE in this new role,” said Alicia Carriquiry, director of CSAFE and Distinguished Professor and President’s Chair in Statistics at Iowa State University. “His forensic science and consulting expertise will be a valuable asset in helping CSAFE connect with the forensic science community.”
Salyards has 33 years of combined experience in scientific leadership, investigations, forensic consulting and teaching. He earned his master’s degree in forensic sciences from The George Washington University, a doctorate in chemistry from Montana State University and a fellowship in forensic medicine from the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.
He currently serves on the Forensic Science Standards Board for the Office of Scientific Area Committees with NIST. Previously he served for five years as the executive director of the Defense Forensic Science Center with a 350+ person team and a yearly operating budget of over $65 million.
He has served on numerous national-level forensic science organizations, including the National Commission on Forensic Science; the Co-Chair, Research, Development, Testing & Evaluation Interagency Working Group, Subcommittee on Forensic Science, Committee on Science, National Science and Technology Council; the Forensic Education Programs Accreditation Commission; the Board of Directors for the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board; the Department of Justice National Steering Committee for Regional Computer Forensic Laboratories; the Council of Federal Forensic Laboratory Directors; the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Board of Directors; and Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
Mejia, Cuellar and Salyards’ blind proficiency testing study was featured in a recent CSAFE news article, Study Addresses Challenges in Implementing Blind Proficiency Testing in Forensic Labs. The journal article can be accessed at https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/csafe_pubs/74/ or view the insights from this study at https://forensicstats.org/blog/2020/10/01/insights-implementing-blind-proficiency-testing-in-forensic-laboratories/.