Training the Handlers

November 13th, 2010

Any benefit derived from DNA technology would not be of any use unless the professionals involved in the criminal justice system or the handlers are provided training and assistance with regards to the collection and use of the DNA evidence. This would more or less include the police officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, forensic scientists, medical personnel, victim service providers, correction officers as well as the probation and parole officers.

Police officers should have the capability to collect evidence properly. Prosecutors and defense attorneys need to know how to introduce and use it successfully in court. Judges should know how to rule correctly on the evidence’s admissibility. Victim service providers and medical personnel likewise need to understand it to be more responsive to the victim’s needs.

A Fun Way to Sharpen Vision

January 2nd, 2010

Believe it or not, playing fast paced video games such as Counter-Strike can actually improve vision by providing excellent training for contrast sensitivity to the eyes. This is according to a study conducted on the premise that better use of information as provided by the retina to the brain can get better results in contrast detection than using glasses or having laser surgery.

The results showed that players which were given hard-core action games exhibited superior efficiency in contrast detection as compared to their counterparts who played with games containing lesser action. One good thing about it is the positive effect that can lasts for months.

Contrast sensitivity is relevant to daily human activities such as reading and night driving. Age plays a big part in its degradation which should make adults think whether engaging in some child’s play is actually good for them as they are for their children. Video games as training devices for the eyes are certainly a better option than other means when the optics of the eye needs to be changed.

Making the DNA System Work

March 19th, 2008

Granting that the use of DNA test results are widely accepted by both the justice system and the general public, there are still some possible pitfalls of the system that may work to its disadvantage. In reality, public crime labs are overwhelmed by backlogs of unanalyzed DNA samples. It is quite possible that existing labs are ill-equipped to handle the increasing influx of DNA samples and evidence.

There is also a need to develop faster methods for analyzing DNA evidence. Another important factor that will ensure the reliability of DNA evidence is the intensive training and assistance that needs to be given to the professionals working in the criminal justice system. This is to ensure that DNA samples are handled in a manner that does not compromise its integrity.

Combined DNA Databases

March 17th, 2008

A system of national, state and local DNA databases used for the storage and exchange of DNA profiles is serving an important role in expediting resolution of criminal cases. The use of DNA databases can facilitate linkage of one crime scene evidence to another. It allows the comparison of crime scene evidence to a database of DNA profiles obtained from convicted offenders. The ability to link DNA evidence obtained from different crime scenes can identify serial killers.

However, this system’s potential can only be maximized when supported by relevant laws such as requiring offenders of particular offenses to provide DNA samples. The existence of a comprehensive DNA database not only helps solves crimes but most importantly prevent it to be committed by the very same offenders.

The fundamental infrastructure support needs to be in place before any accomplishment can be hoped to achieve in increasing the analysis capacity of public crime labs. The basic processes of DNA analysis consisting of extraction, quantization, amplification and analysis require equipments and materials for it to be conducted. The process in turn, needs an information management system that is designed to automate evidence handling and casework management. This system is expected to improve the integrity and speed of evidence handling procedures while ensuring proper chain of custody.

Automated systems such as robotic DNA extraction units streamline aspects of the DNA analysis procedure that can be labor and time-intensive. It also aims to limit human error and reduce contamination. Lastly, there must be appropriate evidence storage conditions that will ensure the availability of the evidence throughout the period of investigation and justice proceedings.

The Bugs

February 27th, 2008

Surveillance device or bugs are devices that require a communications channel and usually involve a radio transmitter. Its original purpose was to relay sound but has since progressed to broadcasting of even TV pictures courtesy of the miniaturization of electronics, specifically the incorporation of miniature video camera.

The recent trend in the development of surveillance devices is inclined towards concurrent development of popular electronic devices. A very good example of this is the insertion of recording devices, cameras and communications devices into ipods and laptops. The scenario is very similar to that seen in movies, where surveillance agents pretend to listen to music or use laptops while near their targets. The only difference is that it’s true to life.