Feedback from the Field: How Your Colleagues Are Using NIJ's Work

Dr. John H. Laub, Director

We frequently receive feedback from the field about how our research and training tools are being used. Let me share a few anecdotes that have come in recently.

A prosecutor in California wrote that, a few years ago, he worked on a death-penalty case with DNA evidence. Like most lawyers, he said, he did not have a biology background, so he was worried about presenting this highly technical evidence to a jury. But he found NIJ's free online training, Principles of Forensic DNA for of the Court, and, as he said, "I learned by doing all of the modules (numerous times)."

"After trial," he added, "jurors wanted to know how many years I worked in the DNA Unit. They were amazed when I told them it was my very first time presenting DNA evidence to a jury."

Although NIJ's mission is U.S.-focused, we also hear from folks outside of the U.S. who find us at NIJ.gov. Recently, we received a note from an attorney and digital-evidence analyst with the Bombay (India) High Court, saying that he found NIJ's Forensic Examination of Digital Evidence: A Guide for Law Enforcement particularly helpful. Another person from India wrote that NIJ's internet-based resources on policing have “...been a bonanza for police officers from developing countries like India.” And an assistant U.S. attorney working in Southeast Asia sent an email just a few weeks ago, saying that his counterparts were very interested in NIJ's online course, Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert, which offers a comprehensive discussion for forensic experts who are preparing to testify in court.

Of course, NIJ's work is amplified when those who are training practitioners use it as a part of their coursework. It was, therefore, very gratifying to hear recently from an instructor at one of the state police academies who said he uses NIJ's Fingerprint Sourcebook when he trains rookies, and he advises his students to refer to it regularly.

We are always thrilled to hear vignettes from the field, so do feel free to contact NIJ's Web manager, Lee Mockensturm at Lee.Mockensturm@usdoj.gov. With your support, we can be sure that our work reaches those in the field, both here and abroad.

Date Created: August 30, 2011