Leading at the Agency Level: Mandating Certification for Crime Scene Personnel




Bell, Michael S

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



Wrongful convictions, attributed to various reasons, are an unwanted product of the criminal justice system. With forensics becoming a more crucial component in criminal prosecutions, even something expected by juries, forensic disciplines were examined at the federal level and a recommendation for certification of crime scene personnel was one recommendation to improve forensics in law enforcement. Based on that recommendation, law enforcement agencies should take the lead and require certifications for their crime scene personnel. Certifications have proven to be a useful tool in the private sector to demonstrate a certain level of accountability and training for a practitioner. These same types of certifications could prove useful in the criminal justice system by showing the customer the crime scene person working a case has been properly trained and is accountable. Arguments could be made against this based on certification not being necessary or due to the costs required. Further research will show the costs are not prohibitive, but actually desired over the alternative- the costs associated with civil litigation, and this is an opportunity to law enforcement executives to take the lead, hopefully, in preventing wrongful convictions.


Police--Certification, Crime scene searches, Evidence, criminal