President's Message
Dear ASCLD Colleagues,

Like many Bostonians, I often stop at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way to work. Every once in a while, my coffee is paid for by the person in front of me at the drive-through. It is such a wonderful surprise. And so, to continue the chain, I “pay it forward” and pay for the order for the car behind me.

Upstream Reciprocity is the tendency for those who themselves have been shown gratitude to be more likely to “pay it forward”. We are in a time when it may be particularly challenging for leaders and managers to foster a culture of teamwork and engagement in crime laboratories. Many of us are working remotely or on split shifts, and many staff have added stressors and challenges. It can be difficult to pull everyone together and engage employees without being in the same physical space. The concept of Upstream Reciprocity can grow a culture of gratitude and engagement. Encouraging our teams to give back to each other can strengthen relationships among colleagues and supervisors, and create trust that leads to respect.

Recently, managers of a section in my lab showed their appreciation to the entire laboratory staff for helping them to reach milestones by sharing cookies that were beautifully decorated with messages celebrating the milestone. It was a thoughtful gesture that brightened everyone’s day. Encourage the management teams in your labs to start a gratitude chain by writing a thank-you note to members of their teams, other managers, or just conveying their sincere appreciation and watch for a ripple effect.

An exciting announcement this week - registration opens today for the Winter Leadership Academy! This January, our Leadership Academy instructors will offer the popular Level 1 program and it will be completely virtual. Leadership Academy fills up quickly, so do not wait to register:

Have a terrific week!
Be well,

Erin P. Forry
ASCLD President

ASCLD monthly board meeting, 3rd Friday of every month

Next meeting: November 20th at 1:00pm EST
Weekly News and Resources
The Coronavirus and How it Affects your Lab
Jane Northup Ph.D.
RI State Crime Laboratory

This is a Coronavirus for Forensic Laboratories Briefing.  A guide to the everchanging practices taking place during the pandemic. Future briefings will include employee wellbeing, the post-quarantine workplace, and vaccine deployment. If you have topics you would like examined or a COVID plan you are willing to share, please email me at  

The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), commonly called COVID-19, emerged from Wuhan, China in late 2019 and was later designated as a pandemic by WHO.  What we know:

  • COVID-19 is a highly contagious pathogenic viral infection 1
  • Closed environments contribute to secondary transmission of COVID-19 and promote super-spreading events. 2 
  • Measures, such as working from home, were encouraged by many state leaders to help decrease the spread of the virus. 3

To mitigate COVID-19 exposure, every Forensic Lab should have a COVID-19 Control Plan.  The plan should a hazard assessment.  A Hazard assessment will help identify potential laboratory and workplace hazards related to COVID-19. 

Prepare a COVID-19 preparedness, response, and control plan. 

  1. Make the plan specific to your workplace/laboratory. Conduct a thorough hazard assessment of the laboratory for hazards related to COVID-19. 
  2. Identify all areas and job tasks with potential exposures to COVID-19. Identify where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work. 
  3. Include control measures to eliminate or reduce such exposures.
  4. Get employee input and collaborate with your employees to effectively communicate important COVID-19 information.
  5. The plan should include activities which prevent and reduce transmission among employees, maintain healthy forensic laboratory operations, and maintain a healthy work environment.
  6. If possible, consider conducting daily in-person or virtual health checks of employees before they enter the facility. If implementing in-person health checks, conduct them safely and respectfully. 
  7. Use appropriate combinations of controls, including engineering controls, workplace administrative policies, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect your employees from the identified hazards.

Completing a Hazard Assessment 
A hazard assessment should be completed to determine if laboratory/workplace hazards are present, or are likely to be present, and determine what type of controls or PPE are needed for specific job duties.

1.Inform affected employees of the process 
Affected employees from each work area that is being assessed should be involved in the process.  Discuss the reasons for the assessment and the procedures being used. Review the job procedures, potential hazards and the PPE currently in use. 

2. Review data 
Reports of COVID-19 illnesses or anyone directed to quarantine due to a COVID-19 exposure are sources of data that can provide helpful information for assessing hazards. 

3.Conduct a walk‐through 
The purpose of the walk-thru is to identify sources of COVID-19 hazards to employees.  Observe the following: layout of the workplace, location of the employees, work operations, hazards and places where PPE is currently used including the device and reason for use.  

4.Determine the hazard risk level for each employee
Use the definitions below to select the appropriate hazard risk level.

a. High Exposure Risk: Jobs/tasks which are those in places of employment with high potential for employee exposure to COVID-19 during specific forensic laboratory procedures. 

Examples: Crime Scene Techs and other employees who conduct lab activities outside of the laboratory setting

b. Medium Exposure Risk: Jobs/tasks that have potential for exposure inside six feet to known or suspected sources of COVID-19.

Example: Evidence Submission personnel and those who work closely with individuals outside of the laboratory setting

c. Low Exposure Risk: Jobs/tasks that require more than minimal occupational contact inside six feet with other employees, other persons, or the general public 

Examples: Analysist’s with no contact to personnel who are working with individuals outside of the laboratory setting. 

5.Determine Controls to protect against COVID-19: 
After considering and/or planning for engineering and administrative controls, select the PPE which provides at least the minimum level of protection required to protect employees from the hazards.  

a.Engineering Controls
Engineering Controls protect workers by removing hazardous conditions or by placing a barrier between the worker and the hazard. 

Examples include local exhaust ventilation to capture and remove airborne emissions, Shields and barriers such as Plexiglas panels between individuals, filter maintenance plans.  When implementing social distancing policies, use of signs and floor and hallway markers. Eliminating seating in common areas. Have disinfecting stations, cleaning supplies and laundry services, if necessary, available. 

b.Administrative Controls
Create a cleaning and disinfecting program which includes how common surface areas are to be cleaned and disinfected. 
  1. Cleaning and Disinfecting: Have a routine cleaning program. Promote frequent hand washing.  When purchasing supplies for inanimate objects to be cleaned, make sure that the chemicals you use contain a virucide.  COVID-19 is a virus and not all disinfectants will kill viruses. For example, hospital grade disinfectants are generally broad-spectrum disinfectants which have greater effectiveness against bacterial pathogens. However, a virucide will destroy or irreversibly inactivate viruses on inanimate surfaces
  2. Prepare policies for a variety of topics. For example, a policy should be made on when an employee may return to work if exposed to, have suspected symptoms, or has tested positive for COVID-19. What social distancing looks like in your facility?  When social distancing cannot be met, what are additional safety measure taken? 
  3. Implement health checks.  Actively encourage sick employees to stay home.  Have employees who have symptoms notify their supervisor and stay home. Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should also stay home.  Have a policy on what actions are taken when an employee becomes sick while working. What will happen if an employee travels, do you have travel restrictions in place?
  4. The use of cloth face masks. When engineering and administrative controls cannot be implemented or are not fully protective, laboratory leadership are required to determine what additional PPE is needed for their workers’ specific job duties.  Require employees to wear a cloth face covering at work if the hazard assessment has determined that they do not require PPE. Cloth face coverings are not considered PPE. 

c.Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  PPE is generally a large part of any forensic laboratory. However, with COVID-19 exposure, additional PPE may be required by staff. Do crime scene techs require PPE such as N95 masks, face shields, or other PPE devices?  Does the evidences submission tech require additional PPE? Address any additional PPE required by staff in the COVID Control Plan.   

6.Lastly, reassess the workplace as necessary by identifying and evaluating changes in how COVID-19 is addressed in research and how your laboratory/agency operates.
  1. Are there new equipment and processes
  2. Changes in accident records
  3. Suitability of previously selected PPE, the availability of PPE and a look to the future needs for PPE

Additional examples of disinfectants are: 
Alcohol based disinfectants are bactericidal, tuberculocidal, fungicidal, and virucidal but do not destroy bacterial spores. Optimal solutions are 60%–90% for effectiveness. Alcohol based disinfectants tend to damage surfaces such as wood and tubing.

Chlorine and chlorine compounds disinfectants, such as household bleach (5-6% sodium hypochlorite) work against broad spectrum microbial activities, do not leave toxic residues, and are inexpensive and fast-acting.  However, they will destroy surfaces and the possibility of chlorine gas exists if inappropriately mixed with ammonia and other household acids. 

Formaldehyde and glutaraldehyde work as chemical sterilants.  They are used mainly for high-level disinfectants of medical equipment

Hydrogen peroxide has recently been reported as an effective germicide. Published reports ascribe good germicidal activity to hydrogen peroxide and attest to its bactericidal, virucidal, sporicidal, and fungicidal properties.  Hydrogen peroxide has shown promise as a chemical sterilant when the solution is between 6% to 25%.

Proper precautions when working with any disinfectant are:

  • Wear skin protection and consider eye protection for potential splash hazards
  • Ensure adequate ventilation
  • Use no more than the amount recommended on the label
  • Use water at room temperature for dilution (unless stated otherwise on the label)
  • Avoid mixing chemical products
  • Label diluted cleaning solutions

Polices and plans generated must be revisited frequently, particularly when COVID-19 research data reports on changes in the evolution of how to mitigate COVID exposure issues. A careful eye must be kept on cleaning and disinfecting supplies.  Also, the community the laboratory/agency resides may have exclusive issues that will need to be addressed.  

References and resources: 

1 Mohapatra, Ranjan K., Lucia Pintilie, Venkataramana Kandi, Ashish K. Sarangi, Debadutta Das, Raghaba Sahu, and Lina Perekhoda. "The recent challenges of highly contagious COVID‐19, causing respiratory infections: Symptoms, diagnosis, transmission, possible vaccines, animal models, and immunotherapy." Chemical Biology & Drug Design (2020).

2 Nishiura, Hiroshi, Hitoshi Oshitani, Tetsuro Kobayashi, Tomoya Saito, Tomimasa Sunagawa, Tamano Matsui, Takaji Wakita, MHLW COVID, and Motoi Suzuki. "Closed environments facilitate secondary transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)." MedRxiv (2020).

3 Kaushik, Meenakshi. "Post COVID-19 World-A Paradigm Shift at Workplace." (2020).

Hazard Assessment
ASCLD members: We need you!
To make a video in the comfort of your own space (whether that be home/office/outside…be creative) telling us why you like being a member of ASCLD!

Being a part of ASCLD helps our leadership across the world build connections with its memberships and allows members to gain more knowledge in this field by learning from others.

So what are we looking for? A video of you can include:
  1. Introduce yourself (your name, title, organization, years in the field)
  2. What got you in the field?
  3. What made you decide to join ASCLD?
  4. What benefits have you gained as a member of ASCLD?
  5. Is there anything you would want a prospective ASCLD member to know?

The video should be around 3 min to 3.5 min in length.
We are asking for videos so we can stay connected with our community during these unprecedented times. Additionally, it was pointed out to us that often times it can be intimidating to take that “leap” into engaging in such a large organization with such great leadership in our field. Let’s show those leaders out there in crime laboratories that we are a welcoming group seeking a diverse membership. Please consider helping us!”
Stop by and visit the ASCLD Forensic Research Committee Validation and Evaluation Repository! Our goal is share information about important Validations and Evaluations with the forensic science community by compiling a list of unique validations and evaluations conducted by forensic labs and universities. The repository will catalog these efforts and provide the contact information of the people responsible for the work. Join ASCLD in this effort to foster information sharing, promote communication, and read about the accomplishments of others worldwide!

Also, please continue to submit your photos to social media with the hashtag #ASCLDfun
Here are some photos of forensic science in action!
Is your laboratory doing something exciting like building a new lab, incorporating new standards or tackling and overcoming operational challenges during COVID? Are you interested in submitting an article for publication in the CLM? Please submit articles electronically to 
Did you know ASCLD has a preferred journal via FSI Synergy? ASCLD has signed Journal Affiliation Agreements with Elsevier B.V. Publishing. This agreement gives ASCLD members some advantages for submitting articles. Elsevier B.V. has agreed to an open access fee of $550 (plus applicable taxes) for ASCLD members to publish, with preferential treatment to ASCLD members in terms of waivers. In return, ASCLD allows Elsevier B.V. Publishing to use the ASCLD logo and trademarks and a membership roster once a year. 
ASCLD Partnerships
The Consortium of Forensic Science Organizations
Formed in 2000, CFSO is an association of six forensic science professional organizations: American Academy of Forensic Sciences; American Society of Crime Lab Directors; International Association for Identification; American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law; National Association of Medical Examiners; and Society of Forensic Toxicologists - American Board of Forensic Toxicology.

These professional organizations together represent more than 21,000 forensic science professionals across the United States.

The mission of the CFSO is to speak with a single forensic science voice in matters of mutual interest to its member organizations, to influence public policy at the national level and to make a compelling case for greater federal funding for public crime laboratories and medical examiner offices. The primary focus of the CFSO is local, state and national policymakers, as well as the United States Congress.

See the November 2020 Newsletter HERE.
Community Research, Newsletters, and Surveys
Request for Information!
Analysis of Marijuana Survey
The Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science Seized Drugs Subcommittee is collecting information on current forensic practices with regards to the analysis of Marijuana, in an effort to develop a consensus-based standard that is useful and practical. We appreciate your time and thank you in advance for taking the time to answer these questions related to your laboratory's practices and policies.

The goal of the Laboratories and Educators Alliance Program (LEAP) is to facilitate collaborative research between academia and forensic science laboratories. This joint effort between the American Society of Crime Lab Directors (ASCLD) and the Council of Forensic Science Educators (COFSE) identifies forensic science needs and provides a platform for laboratories, researchers, and students to seek projects aligning with their mutual research capabilities. Read more...
ASCLD Forensic Research Committee
The ASCLD Forensic Research Committee is proud to announce the next episode of a virtual “Lightning Talks” series to highlight new and emerging research in all areas of forensic science. Each episode will feature three short talks given by practitioners, researchers, and/or students.
The second episode will be held on Thursday, December 3rd at 1:00 EST and will focus on Strategies for Organic and Inorganic GSR Analysis.

It will feature talks by Paul Kirkbride from Flinders University on OGSR and IGSR trajectories, Virginie Redouté Minzière from Université de Lausanne on combined collection, and William Feeney from West Virginia University on combinatorial analysis.
Please note - the live event is limited to 100 people.

Forensic Laboratory Needs Technology Working Group (FLN-TWG)
The NIJ Forensic Laboratory Needs – Technology Working Group (FLN-TWG) met virtually during the afternoons of July 27 and 28, 2020. 

The FLN-TWG is made up of laboratory directors and research scientists, many of whom are members of ASCLD, who are tasked with providing knowledge and expertise to ensure that NIJ research and implementation of forensic technology is relevant and responsive to laboratory operations needs of the forensic science community.

The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for late October.
ABC Certification Scheme Restructuring
The American Board of Criminalistics (ABC) has been a pillar in the forensic field for certifying criminalists since the 1990’s. As the ABC and forensic disciplines have evolved, the Board of Directors (BOD) has actively pursued strategic changes. Recently a restructuring of the certification scheme for ABC participants has been pursued upon a thoughtful survey and dialogue of the BOD. Please see this official announcement of the restructure which will go into effect on January 1st, 2021. This announcement not only includes the history of this change but also includes some thoughtful questions you may be asking as leaders within your forensic organization.

If you have any questions or comments regarding restructuring of ABC certification schemes, please contact the ABC Board of Directors HERE.
The Cannabis Quality Assurance Program 
The Cannabis Quality Assurance Program (CannaQAP), part of our larger Cannabis program, will help forensic laboratories demonstrate and improve the comparability and/or competence of the quantitative measurements required under the 2018 Farm Bill.
For additional information regarding CannaQAP and to sign up to receive notification of new exercises, please
The AAFS has established an organization dedicated to developing documentary standards for forensics, the Academy Standards Board (ASB).To date in the United States, forensic standards development has culminated in the currently on-going National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science (OSAC) effort, which began in 2014. NIST has ensured the significant involvement of the forensic science community in this process.

AAFS Standards Board
The documents, comment template, and additional information help to shape the development of these standards by offering your comments during the public commenting period. Keep up with the standards available for public comment at ASB HERE
73rd AAFS Annual Scientific Meeting Goes Virtual!

The 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) will be held virtually from February 15-19, 2021. Abstracts were due by October 8, 2020. Notification of Acceptance will be mailed to all presenting authors by November 27, 2020. Meeting registration materials will be subsequently sent to presenting authors.

#forensicscienceweek on Social Media
We hope you followed along this week on both the Academy and the ASB social media platforms! Please take a moment to visit our pages and become one of our new Followers. In addition to the Academy Facebook® page, we have launched a Twitter® feed and both Academy and ASB LinkedIn® pages.
Contribute To the ASB
Your contribution will help ensure the ASB's success in establishing standards and best practices for the forensic science community. Your contribution may be tax deductible as an ordinary and necessary business expense for federal income tax purposes. Make a donation.
ASB updates from ANSI Standards Action
To view a summary of items of interest to ASB members in ANSI Standards Action, visit the ANSI Standards Action Weekly Report folder on the ASB Workspace page. Please contact if you have difficulties logging on to the Workspace site.
Funding Opportunities
Will your laboratory be among the 2021 FORESIGHT Maximus award winners?
Some have already submitted their data, but there is still time for others to submit. We thank those who have already submitted and encourage all to participate.
Note that we are hosting two workshops at the 2021 ASCLD Symposium. One workshop is designed for new participants to assist in data reporting. The second workshop is designed for laboratory leadership to get the most out of their annual reports. Please join us at the ASCLD Symposium.
Attached you will find the data collection form for participation in Project FORESIGHT. As a response to several laboratories regarding the minimum data necessary to participate, we created a data collection tool LabRAT Levels.
The LabRAT Levels data collection sheet separates the minimum data necessary from the maximum data possible. We have added some additional detail to Level II casework with respect to some databases, SAKs, and Digital Evidence. Complete the following:
"Open Me First" worksheet
“Casework Level I”, which asks for Cases submitted for each investigative area and full time equivalent employees in each area
 "Expenditures Level I" worksheet, which asks for personnel expenditures (salaries, wages, benefits, temporary employees and overtime) for each area of investigation and laboratory total expenditures for capital, consumables, and the lump sum of other expenditures.
With this data we can provide you with a full report. The “Summary Measures” worksheet will give you immediate feedback with this minimum data reporting. You Tube videos demonstrating the use of the LabRAT tool are available on the project website.
All of your Level I Casework and Expenditures data are immediately transferred to the Level II worksheets. Any additional detail on casework (e.g., TAT, backlogs, items, samples, tests, and reports) or expenditures will enhance the precision of your report. Partial reporting under the Level II worksheets is fine. Do not worry about having all possible blocks filled.
Please try to submit your data by January 15, 2021 to: or If you are unable to meet that target date, please submit when you are able. All submissions that are receive at least one month prior to the 2021 ASCLD Symposium will be evaluated for Maximus award consideration.
Note that annual reports for prior years are available via
Finally, if you haven’t tested it yet, check out the beta version of the workforce calculator hosted by RTI International and the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence ( The updated workforce calculator will be posted in the near future. We’ll send an updated notice when it is ready for trial.
Paul J Speaker
Department of Finance – 220 B&E
John Chambers College of Business and Economics
West Virginia University
Morgantown, WV 26506-6025
(304) 293-7810 (office)
For the most up to date Funding Opportunities visit:

Standards Corner
As noted, last week, OSAC transitioned to OSAC 2.0. We will be sure to have any information that OSAC shares with us in the coming weeks.

See Senate Bill 4568 HERE.

See the letter of Support HERE
Summer 2020 OSAC Standards Bulletin now available, click HERE

The Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science monthly Standards Bulletin is now available. Read about the latest DNA standard to be added to the OSAC Registry and the nine other standards currently open for Registry comment. Also learn about the recently published toxicology and footwear and tire standards, the eight standards open for comment at standards developing organizations, and the new documents being initiated. 
August 22-26, 2021 | Together Toward Tomorrow | Boston, MA
The ASCLD 2021 Symposium will be held at the Westin Copley in Boston’s historic Back Bay August 22-26, 2021.

Are you interested in presenting at ASCLD 2021? Click HERE to submit an abstract. The deadline for submissions is September 30th.

Continue to watch the 2021 ASCLD Symposium website here. for important updates. If you have any questions, please contact our Symposium Chair, Laura Sudkamp,
ASCLD Emerging Issues: Employee Webinar Series (Archived)

Providing training and education to our membership is a core mission for ASCLD. Despite the unfortunate cancellation of our annual symposium this year, the Symposium Planning and Training and Education Committees found a way to bring timely and relevant content that would have been experienced in Denver, to the ASCLD membership.
Through a generous partnership with the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence at RTI International, ASCLD presented a three-part webinar series entitled ASCLD Emerging Issues: Employee Wellness. Providing training and education in employee wellness is part of the current ASCLD Strategic Plan. In an already stressful profession, as we adapt and lead through the COVID-19 pandemic, this topic is particularly timely.

In June 2020, ASCLD Emerging Issues: Employee Wellness presented the webinars bleow. To view these and other archived training opportunities please visit:

Speakers: Andrew Levin, Jonathan McGrath, Heidi Putney, & Danielle Crimmins

Speaker: Jody Wolf

Speaker: Robert Kirkby
ANAB - Upcoming training events
New! ANAB is offering live instructor lead online courses to meet the need for continued learning in light of widespread travel restrictions and the need for social distancing. Each class is offered via WebEx and includes the opportunity for participants to submit questions, as well as interact with the instructor and other participants.

December 10, 2020, (11:30am-4:30pm ET) Live Online

November 16-19, 2020, (11:00am-5:00pm ET) Live Online
December 14-17, 2020, (11:00am-5:00pm ET) Live Online
December 1-4, 2020 (11am-1pm ET), Live Online

November 30-December 2, 2020 (2pm-4pm ET), Live Online

Self-paced Training (Web-based)

Self-paced Training (Web-based)
Crime Lab Minute Sponsors
For More Information, Click the LOGO below:
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Be a leader in your industry by building confidence and consistency in your product through A2LA WPT’s broad spectrum of instructor-led and online e-learning training courses. Move ahead of your competition by learning best practices on international standards, quality systems, technical tools, and soft skills.
Donate to ASCLD
Donations to ASCLD can now be made online! This is a great way to honor the memory of a forensic colleague, to commemorate a life event for that person who has everything, or to otherwise assist in supporting the tireless efforts of the ASCLD organization in the pursuit of excellence in forensic science management. The donation page can be accessed by clicking HERE or by visiting the ASCLD website and clicking on "Donate to ASCLD" under the "Member Site" tab (this donation page is accessible even to non-members). Please consider donating and do share this information with anyone you think might be interested.
The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors

65 Glen Road, Suite 123
Garner, NC 27529
Phone: 919.773.2044