First Trace-Z & Discovery-Z Comparison Microscopes Installed in U.S. Forensic Labs

First Trace-Z Comparison Microscope installed at Arkansas Crime Lab

First Trace-Z Comparison Microscope installed at Arkansas Crime Lab

Leeds is pleased to announce the recent installation of the first Trace-Z Comparison Microscope, a trace evidence comparison microscope designed by Leeds and built with Zeiss optics, at the Arkansas State Crime Lab.

Additionally, Leeds first Discovery-Z Comparison Microscope has been installed at the DC Department of Forensic Sciences.

The first Discovery-Z Comparison Microscope installed at DC Department of Forensic Sciences.

The first Discovery-Z Comparison Microscope installed at DC Department of Forensic Sciences.

The DC Department of Forensic Sciences Firearm Examiners Unit Manager, Jonathan Pope, stated, “The Discovery-Z is an excellent microscope.  Currently we are using it as a communal microscope, where each of my examiners have a chance to experience it’s ease of use.  The feedback that I have received is that the Discovery-Z is technologically advanced, yet super user friendly.  Leeds certainly has a winner with this new microscope, because it was built around the specific needs of the firearms examiner.”

Leeds is proud to work with these outstanding laboratories to assist in fulfilling their forensic analysis equipment needs.  If you have questions or would like to learn more about Leeds products, please contact Leeds at (763)546-8575.

 

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Summary of 2018 Federal Funding Proposed for Law Enforcement

Federal Funding

Last week PoliceOne released a summary of federal funding proposed in 2018 for law enforcement agencies.  To read the article, please click on Grants for Law Enforcement.

We encourage our blog readers to review these opportunities as several of our customers have utilized similar funding opportunities to purchase equipment for their forensic laboratories.  Some of these opportunities specifically identify how funds can be utilized.  In the case of Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program, the solicitation lists, “Funds may be used to upgrade, lease, or purchase forensic laboratory or medical examiner/coroner equipment and instrumentation”.

Other noteworthy news is the announcement on the NIJ website: Important Grants.gov Notice! Grants.gov’s legacy PDF application package will be retired on December 31, 2017. Grants.gov Workspace is now the standard application method. Read the Grants.gov blog post that summarizes this transition and provides links to resources for applying for grants using Workspace.

In addition, we have created a Grant & Funding Resource webpage which lists several  funding opportunities including links to their websites to assist our customers.

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact Leeds sales staff to discuss your laboratory’s equipment needs.

 

 

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Leeds Announces Forensic Science Scholarships at University of Central Oklahoma

Leeds Forensic Systems is pleased to announce our support of the University of Central Oklahoma Forensic Science Institute UCO Small ForensicScienceLogoCOLORby offering two scholarships.  The University of Central Oklahoma has been a customer of Leeds since 2009.

The Leeds Forensic Systems, Inc. Scholarship is available to in-state, out-of-state, and international students currently enrolled full-time as graduate students or Junior/Senior undergraduate students in the Forensic Science program.  Preference will be given to students focusing on a career in Firearm and Toolmark Analysis with a 3.0 GPA or above.  Students may apply for this monetary award annually by completing and submitting the FSI Scholarship application by February 15, 2018.  Please click on the Scholarship Eligibility Requirements link below for additional eligibility requirements.

Requirements for Eligibility:

  • Student must be a declared Forensic Science student and currently enrolled full-time in the master’s or undergraduate (Junior/Senior) program.
  • Student must provide a UCO transcript showing an overall 3.0 GPA or above in all coursework.
  • Student must be enrolled full-time (9 hours for graduate students or 12 hours for undergraduate student) each semester the scholarship is received.
  • Preference will be given to students focusing on a career in Firearm and Toolmark Analysis.

To learn more about this scholarship, please Click here to access Link to UCO Scholarship page.

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How to Upgrade your Existing Leeds Firearms Comparison Microscope

Since the sale of Leeds first comparison microscope in 1999, our sales and service teams have been dedicated to providing exceptional customer service to our growing number of forensic customers.

To meet the needs of our customers, Leeds offers various microscope accessories, and upgrade options, all of which can extend the functional life of the microscope.

Leeds Third Eyepiece and Pin Mount Holder Tray

Leeds Third Eyepiece and Pin Mount Holder Tray

Leeds’ comparison microscope Upgrade Options Flyer highlights a variety of optional accessories, ranging from the Coarse to Fine Focus Upgrade to the Third Eyepiece Holder.  Many of these upgrades can be easily added to existing microscope and allow for more versatility while keeping costs down.

Coarse to Fine Focus Upgrade

Coarse to Fine Focus Upgrade

 

 

In addition, Leeds offers an aggressive trade-in program to assist laboratories interested in purchasing a new comparison microscope.

Please contact Leeds sales staff to discuss your upgrade needs, or to request a quote.

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Leeds’ CEO Attends 29th Annual Candlelight Vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial 5/13/17


Photo credit @LAPPL (Los Angeles Police Protective League) 29th Annual Candlelight Vigil

Photo credit @LAPPL (Los Angeles Police Protective League)
29th Annual Candlelight Vigil

On May 13, 2017, Leeds’ CEO, John Crouch, and nine other family members, attended the 29th Annual Candlelight Vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C. at which his great-grandfather, Thomas Nicholson was inducted into the Memorial.  Thomas Nicholson was the Town Marshal in Gowrie, IA, and was shot and killed in the line of duty on July 11, 1908.  There are now approximately 21,000 fallen law enforcement officers enrolled in the Memorial which includes officers from all  50 states, U.S. territories, federal law enforcement agencies, and military police agencies.

An estimated 25,000 people attended the ceremony.

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Axioscope & Trace-Z for Drug Chemistry Applications

With the growing surge of new designer drugs appearing in crime scene evidence analyzed in forensic laboratories, forensic drug chemists are working overtime to identify these evolving drugs in addition to their research of narcotics and stimulant drugs which are fueling deadly addictions around the country. Microcrystalline testing can be part of
a drug chemist’s toolkit. Fast, highly specific, and inexpensive per-sample,

Axioscope

Zeiss Axioscope

microcrystalline testing on a specially configured Polarized Light Microscope (PLM) can be a helpful tool for drug chemists looking to move through casework helping with identification of methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin. The microscope, equipped with a highly sensitive and fast digital camera and ISO17025:2005 traceable calibrations, provides an examiner with the ability to easily document crystal growth and have measurement traceability. Additionally, microcrystalline testing on a PLM such as the Zeiss Axioscope, may be one way to assist in researching, or identify, these types of designer drug compounds. The organic structure of the analogues may be different enough to grow various crystal types between the analog and controlled substance allowing for rapid and highly confident processing.

The Trace-Z Trace Evidence Comparison Microscope built with Zeiss Optics

The Trace-Z Trace Evidence Comparison Microscope built with Zeiss Optics

In addition to the Axioscope, the Trace-Z comparison microscope can assist drug chemists by offering a side-by-side comparison of a test drug sample placed next to a sample of
an unknown drug. The Trace-Z, encompassing Zeiss optical components, offers a 23mm field of view, superior color and intensity balance requiring no adjustment by the operator, and a motorized sweeping mask adjuster allowing examiners to control image dividing line and overlay.

To learn more, please contact Leeds or call (763)546-8575 to speak with a sales representative.

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Leeds Announces Vice President of Sales

Kevin Boulay, VP of SalesLeeds is delighted to announce that Kevin Boulay has returned to Leeds as its Vice President of Sales.  Kevin brings to Leeds, and to its customers, extensive experience designing and selling forensic imaging systems.  Kevin’s commitment to his customers and to meeting their comparison microscope and imaging system needs is well known in the forensic science community.

Please join us in welcoming Kevin in his return to Leeds.

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FY2017 Forensic Science Grant Funding Opportunities

As we welcome in 2017, the field of forensic science turns towards the opening of FY2017 forensic science grant funding opportunities.  The National Institute of Justice hosted a WebEx last week covering four grant funding opportunities available to publicly funded forensic laboratories:

  1. Research and Evaluation for the Testing and Interpretation of Physical Evidence in Publicly Funded Forensic Laboratories Due 2/27/17
  2. Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program – Competitive/Formula Due 3/10/17
  3. New!!  Forensic DNA Laboratory Efficiency Improvement and Capacity Enhancement Program (EI&CE) Due 3/13/17
  4. DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program Due 3/13/17

You will find all of this information on our website as well as due dates for each solicitation listed.  Please note, all grant applicants must register with Grants.gov at least 72 hours prior to application submission.  As other opportunities become available, we will add these to our webpage as well so we recommend bookmarking our page and checking back frequently.

Most exciting this fiscal year is the introduction of the newest solicitation, Forensic DNA Laboratory Efficiency Improvement and Capacity Enhancement (EI&CE) Program.  This program is focused on assisting existing crime laboratories that conduct multidisciplinary forensic analysis, including DNA, to reduce the number of items awaiting analysis to ultimately solve crimes and thereby help to increase public safety in the United States.

Evofinder® Automated Ballistic Identification system

Evofinder® Automated Ballistic Identification system

Per this solicitation, laboratories can “purchase equipment to be used to increase the capacity of a non-DNA discipline with an overall demonstrable goal of decreasing DNA analysis turnaround time.” The Evofinder® Automated Ballistics Identification system, which Leeds represents exclusively in the United States, can qualify for purchase under the EI&CE program.  In laboratories where bullet and cartridge samples from a crime scene need to be matched prior to completing the DNA evidence processing, the Evofinder® can facilitate this process by providing a tool capable of quickly scanning and comparing both sample types to compare samples from a crime scene.  By reducing the backlog and waiting period for sample comparison, DNA evidence can then be processed in a more timely fashion.  At the same time, scanned samples can simultaneously be compared with any other sample previously entered into the Evofinder® database to show associations between new evidence samples and those collected from previous crime scenes.

Additionally, Leeds’ LSV2 Spectral Vision System, a multi-wavelength imaging tool used to

LSV2, Leeds Spectral Vision System

LSV2, Leeds Spectral Vision System

rapidly view, capture, and document bodily fluids, victim bruising, trace evidence, accelerants, explosives, and gunshot residue, could qualify as such equipment to be purchased under this same EI&CE program.

 

 

The Trace-Z Trace Evidence Comparison Microscope built with Zeiss Optics

The Trace-Z Trace Evidence Comparison Microscope built with Zeiss Optics

Likewise, Leeds’ Trace-Z Comparison Microscope system could also qualify if a lab has encountered a delay in processing of trace evidence on cases that were awaiting further DNA analysis; or if the processing and analysis of the trace evidence lengthened the time for a case that had a DNA component to be closed.

Leeds offers a competitive trade-in program if your lab is interested in trading in old microscopes towards the purchase of new Leeds’ products.

To learn more about Leeds products, please contact Leeds.

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Introducing the Evofinder Automated Ballistics Identification system

The Evofinder® Automated Ballistics Identification system (BIS), produced by ScannBi Technology, is a scanning device that captures 2D & 3D digital images of bullets and cartridge cases to store in a database for the purpose of comparison and matching.

Main Features of the Evofinder® BIS:

  • To scan, process and store high quality 2D and 3D digital images of a full or fragmented surface of a bullet, including strongly deformed ones, and any bottom or side surface of cartridge-casing.
  • To create a database of spent bullets and cartridge-case images and hold in a single information network.
  • To carry out automatic identification of the object under examination among the objects in the database and to provide experts with a “hit list” of similar objects.
  • To view a scanned object’s surface on monitor and carry out manual or auto-focusing, change the direction of light, etc., for comparison of images.
  • To recall previously saved images in the given scale, move the images independently and align images for the sake of manual comparison identification.
  • To print images and reports to be represented in court.

Evofinder® technology includes multi-sided illumination, 2-sided separate lighting for bullets, and 4-sided separate lighting for cartridge-cases.

The Evofinder® is easy to use, with an adjustable universal detachable cassette to hold bullets and cartridge cases.  Once object has been loaded, the cassette is inserted into the Evofinder for scanning, the scanning process takes approximately 2-3 minutes.

To learn more about the Evofinder, please contact Leeds.

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Same Gun, Different Scene: The Process of Matching Firearms Evidence Samples through the Use of Automated Ballistic Identification Systems

Forensic laboratories are always trying to find faster ways to process evidence in the efforts to battle crime, including the examination and comparison of bullets and cartridge cases for support of police investigation and criminal prosecution.

With the development of technology in the forensic lab, one of the newer technologies in identifying links between separate crime scenes is the introduction of the automated ballistic identification systems.  These are systems which take digital images of evidence samples and utilize algorithms to locate possible matches between evidence samples at completely separate crime scene locations, providing possible links to help with criminal investigations.

Automated ballistic identification systems are designed to scan bullets and cartridge cases, adding them to a database, and then be able to develop correlated searches for other samples in the database which could match the current test sample.  These possible matches are referred to as unconfirmed hits until they have been directly compared by a trained firearms examiner to make a determination about the samples.

Ballistic Graphic_Graphic ltd text_Graphic ltd text

National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN)

NIBIN is a database of breech face images of cartridges that have been scanned by automated ballistic identification workstations.  This database is maintained by the ATF (US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives).  There are over 150 NIBIN sites used by federal, state, and local law enforcement throughout the United States.

Automated Ballistics Identification Scanning Systems

Automated Ballistics Identification Scanning Systems are scanning devices which generates digital images of bullets and cartridge cases for examination, comparison, and correlative searches within existing databases, like NIBIN.  These workstations can execute matching algorithms to find unconfirmed hits which are presented in an order of the likeliness of a match.  A hit is not a proven match between samples.

Confirming Matched Ballistics Evidence

A comparison microscope is used to compare the actual (physical) samples of the unconfirmed hit, obtained from police evidence files, to allow the examiner to make a determination if the samples match (or identify that there is insufficient information to make a determination).  This result can then help police using these tools to determine if there are multiple crime scenes at which the same firearm may have been used, further aiding in their investigations and providing a link between the evidence samples that can also be used in court cases.  Leeds’ firearm comparison microscopes are utilized as part of both examinations and confirmations made by examiners at numerous agencies sites across the United States. (Leeds Helping Police Prevent Violent Crimes Flyer)

Leeds LCF3 Firearms & Tool Marks Comparison Microscope

Leeds LCF3 Firearms & Tool Marks Comparison Microscope

The LCF3 firearms and tool marks comparison microscope’s design incorporates examiner feedback, focusing on image resolution, sample handling, ergonomics, and versatility. These design concepts provide examiners with features that can increase the rate at which examiners complete forensic examinations. This allows for faster actionable results such as helping move through case backlog or providing quicker hit confirmations from automated ballistics identification systems like Evofinder®.

As laboratories take advantage of the advances in technology and organizational structuring around the 48-hour confirmation response times from submission to confirmation, the importance of high-performance, workflow-oriented and reliable comparison systems become more pronounced (AFT’s video of NIBIN and Leeds’ LCF microscope working to solve violent crime in Jefferson Parish, LA).

If you would like to discuss comparison microscope options for your police department, or forensic lab, please contact Leeds or call 1-800-444-5333.

 

 

 

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