Forensics. The occasionally strange Top 2013 moments in Forensic Science according to the NFSTC

One is “fingerprint science comes to the kitchen.” All are undeniably positive. 


The NFSTC is a consortium of current and ex governmental employees and private parties that have a varied nexus with forensic science and law enforcement. Their affiliations within these areas are profound and deep and primarily police managed crime labs. They backup their mission statement via grant writing for USDOJ and NIJ monies targeting training. Their “about me” page reads, in part.

“In 1995, members of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) realized the need for an organization with a focus on elevating the quality and consistency of forensic services in our nation’s crime laboratories. Out of that realization was born the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC), a nonprofit organization with one staff person, $1500 and a charge to ‘do good things’ for the industry. Offices for NFSTC were established at St. Petersburg College, in St. Petersburg, Florida. The early years were focused on laying the groundwork for future programs.”

But, as in many things forensics (both in practice and some of its organizations), there is a backstory and a side story that must be considered “compelling circumstantial evidence” of other “intentional acts” of the NSFTC.

Amy Driver of “bulletpath blog” fame, until sometime in 2012, had consistently been nagging at the heels (and sometimes on the nose) of this forensic facilitating organization. 

Founded in 1995 by the American Society of Crime Lab Directors (ASCLD) with a mandate to “do good things”, the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) sounded like a good idea: develop quality services for all and deliver them for free or at low cost to public crime labs, all funded by the federal government. However, like other ASCLD endeavors, it quickly proved to be yet another opportunity for a few to hoard power and cash.

Some might argue that all that grant money had to go somewhere, and the NFSTC was just really good at networking.

But, as the recently-passed CJS Appropriations Bill pointed out, the money was supposed to go to crime labs to keep criminalists working to keep backlogs down. The money was not supposed to go to a special interest group of the crime lab managers to create a place for them to hoard money and power for themselves in a way that kept money out of their own crime labs.

And the NFSTC didn’t just become good at networking.

The NFSTC was allowed to put their own people in the National Institutes of Justice [NIJ] grant office where money was being sent back to the NFSTC. People who were still being paid by the NFSTC.

Amy had a knack for unerringly saying what she thinks. I wish her well.

About csidds

Dr. Michael Bowers is a long time forensic consultant in the US and international court systems.
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