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SWGIT Photo Guidelines, Parts 3, 4, and 5 (Forensic Science Communications, October 1999)

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October 1999   Volume 1   Number 3

Definitions and Guidelines for the Use of Imaging Technologies in the Criminal Justice System

Part III: Standard Operating Procedures
Part IV: Quality Assurance
Part V: Training, Qualifications,
and Proficiency

(Version 2.1 — June 8, 1999)

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Part III: Standard Operating Procedures
Part IV: Quality Assurance
Equipment
Software
Personnel
Part V: Training, Qualifications, and Proficiency
Awareness Training: Photographers and Imaging Scientists 
Technical Skills Training
Awareness Training: End Users

Part III: Standard Operating Procedures

The following should be considered when formulating standard operating procedures:

Title: The title should be a descriptive name for the procedure.

Purpose: Why, when, and by whom the procedure is used.

Equipment/Materials/Standards/Controls: Identifies what items are required to perform the procedure. This may include protective equipment, hardware, software, and configurations.

Procedures: A step-by-step description of how the procedure is conducted. If appropriate, instructions should include precautions to minimize degradation.

Calibration: Describes steps required to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the procedure. Where applicable, instrumentation setup and calibration procedures should be documented.

Calculation: Describes mathematical operations that are applicable to the procedure.

Limitations: Describes actions, interpretations, or equipment that are not appropriate for the procedure.

Safety: Identifies and addresses potential hazards in the use of the procedure.

References: Identifies documents both internal and external to the user agency regarding the procedure, related procedures, and principles behind them.

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Part IV: Quality Assurance

Personnel utilizing images and imaging technologies in the criminal justice system should implement quality assurance programs to ensure that results achieved are repeatable and valid. As part of the programs, performance checks and corrective actions should be documented.

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Equipment

Where applicable, equipment utilized in imaging should be checked regularly for proper performance and calibration, and findings documented. Where applicable, an end-to-end system check for consistency within specified system parameters should be performed on a regular basis and whenever modifications are made to the system. All equipment should be maintained according to the manufacturers' specifications and recommendations as contained in the operating manuals.

When a piece of equipment or system fall outside the specifications and recommendations, the equipment or system should be taken out of service until it has been corrected. Evaluation of equipment and system checks should be documented inclusive of corrective actions.

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Software

If software errors that significantly affect the results of a processing step are detected, corrective actions should be taken. If the manufacturer identifies software errors and provides corrective remedies, the remedies should be implemented before the software is used again. Once corrective actions have been taken, an end-to-end system check should be performed prior to putting the system back into operation.

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Personnel

All personnel utilizing imaging technologies shall be trained and tested for competency and proficiency in the agency's standard operating procedures and the operation of the relevant imaging technologies. A formal training program should be documented and maintained, with the results of competency and proficiency tests documented. Proficiency testing should be repeated on a regular basis or when significant changes in hardware or software are made.

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Part V: Training, Qualifications, and Proficiency

Awareness Training: Photographers and Imaging Scientists

Personnel in the criminal justice system engaged in the production or use of images should be aware of the standard procedures commonly utilized within the law enforcement community and should strive to conform to or exceed these standards. The personnel should also endeavor to maintain awareness of new developments.

  • Personnel engaged in the production of images should define and implement quality assurance programs to ensure the following: reliable services; implementation of recognized standards for good practice; and the use of valid, reliable procedures adequate for the task. Personnel should receive training in the quality systems.

  • Personnel engaged in the production of images should maintain proficiency by pursuing continuing education courses in imaging.

  • Personnel engaged in the production of images should maintain awareness of legal developments relating to the use of imaging technologies in the criminal justice system.

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Technical Skills Training

Personnel responsible for operating imaging technologies should be trained in the operation of the technologies and should be able to explain their operation to a jury.

Personnel should receive training in the following categories based on their specific applications:

  • Image Acquisition and Storage:

    • Capture (multiple sub-categories: field, studio, scanner, camera, media)

    • Transfer

    • Storage
  • Image Processing:

    • Intermediate storage/working images

    • Image enhancement processes

    • Application specific processes
  • Output:

    • Printers

    • Papers

    • Film recorders

    • Monitors

    • Video

    • Other devices and media

  • Transmission

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Awareness Training: End Users

Personnel in the criminal justice system who utilize images must also be aware of the capabilities and limitations of specific imaging technologies. The following personnel would benefit from training in imaging technologies:

  • Investigators

  • Managers

  • Court Officials

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Information referenced to this document can be identified as Version 2.1 ¾ June 8, 1999.

FORENSIC SCIENCE COMMUNICATIONS    OCTOBER 1999    VOLUME 1    NUMBER 3

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