The on-going American Academy of Forensic Science meeting in New Orleans is a wealth of information on how its varied membership and disciplines manage their little fiefdoms every year.
The bitemarkers (American Board of Forensic Odontology) membership numbers are dwindling. 86 dentists have achieved this status as ‘diplomates.’ That’s the same number as when I joined them in 1989 ( to later quit in 2012). Their mean age is about 70.
What to do? Incredibly, the ABFO membership voted Monday night to LOWER its requirements for new applicants. They have been averaging one or two a year. Significantly, it raises the number of “credits” (substitute for actual experience) applicants can get by attending ABFO run ‘workshops’ occurring at the final weekend of this annual convention. All this was voted the same day as exoneree Keith Harward excoriated this group after spending 33 years in prison while being innocent.
On average, these one or two day training sessions on their proprietary methods of bitemark ‘science’ keep the organization financially solvent as the $20,000 annual income pays their bills.
Overview of “pay-to-play” strategy.
- Reduction of bitemark case requirement from 7 to 4. There is no need to interact with any law enforcement agencies. Take the course (2 credits) and “dry lab” two cases made available by ABFO members (2 credits).
- No experience needed as a primary investigator which would require interaction with medical examiners, coroners, lawyers and other forensic disciplines.
- Recertification (every 5 years): Take an online, no time limit, open book, 25 multiple choice exam using the group’s published documents. If you don’t get a 70% score, just take it again.
You can be sure the test will not include any comments about what the Texas Forensic Science Commission, the National Academy of Sciences, and Obama’s President’s Council on Science and Technology demanded in regards to new research and protections against erroneous conclusions. Texas gave them two years to comply to avoid permanent de-certification in its court rooms. One year is left on the clock.