As part of the Department’s efforts under the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety (Task Force), Attorney General Jeff Sessions today announced a series of actions the Department will take to advance forensic science and help combat the rise in violent crime.
These actions are being undertaken on the expiration of the National Commission on Forensic Science (NCFS) and will increase the capacity of forensic science providers, improve the reliability of forensic analysis, and permit reporting of forensic results with greater specificity. The Task Force’s Subcommittee on Forensics will spearhead the development of that strategic plan.
“The availability of prompt and accurate forensic science analysis to our law enforcement officers and prosecutors is critical to integrity in law enforcement, reducing violent crime and increasing public safety,” said Attorney General Sessions. “As we decide how to move forward, we bear in mind that the Department is just one piece of the larger criminal justice system and that the vast majority of forensic science is practiced by state and local forensic laboratories and is used by state and local prosecutors. We applaud the professionalism of the National Commission on Forensic Science and look forward to building on the contributions it has made in this crucial field.”
The following three actions were announced today:
1. In the coming weeks, the Department will appoint a Senior Forensic Advisor to interface with forensic science stakeholders and advise Department leadership;
2. The Department will conduct a needs assessment of forensic science laboratories that examines workload, backlog, personnel and equipment needs of public crime laboratories and the needs of academic and non-traditional forensic science practitioners, and issue a report to Congress; and
3. The Department will publish a notice in the Federal Register seeking public comment on how the Department should move forward to strengthen the foundations of forensic science and improve the operations and capacity of forensic laboratories. The notice will remain open until June 9, 2017.
The Attorney General will continue to receive and act upon recommendations from the Task Force as they become available.