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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Leeds Announces it is the New North American Distributor for Evofinder® Ballistics Identification System (BIS)

Minneapolis, MN – Leeds Precision Instruments, Inc. is pleased to announce that Leeds has been appointed by ScannBI Technology Europe GmbH as its exclusive North American distributor of the Evofinder® Ballistic Identification System (BIS).

Evofinder® captures ballistic evidence images in both 2D and 3D and stores these images in a network database which can be used as a resource database by firearms examiners to compare ballistics evidence against one another to identify potential confirmed matches.

Leeds’ Director of Sales, Jake Kurth, stated, “We are pleased to announce our exclusive North American distribution of the Evofinder® system.  Leeds has always focused on supplying firearms examiners with world-class technology to assist them in their work and we are very excited to offer this solution to our forensic customers”.

Established in 1986, Leeds designs, manufactures and distributes comparison microscopes and imaging systems for forensic laboratories in the United States and around the world.

 

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Leeds Celebrates 30 years in Business!

Leeds 30th annivesary

Today, June 30, 2016, marks the thirtieth anniversary of Leeds Precision Instruments.

Leeds has built its business on the solid foundation of designing and manufacturing high quality comparison microscopes combined with providing the highest level of customer service in the industry.  We have  built our strong reputation in the forensic microscopy community by listening to our end users and designing our products to improve their work flow and imaging quality.   This relationship propels Leeds to work diligently to exceed our customer’s expectations.

We would like to thank all of our customers, supporters, and followers.  We appreciate your business and continued support.

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Leeds Launches the Trace-Z Trace Evidence Comparison Microscope

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

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

Leeds is very pleased to announce our newest product, the Trace-Z, a trace evidence comparison microscope built with Zeiss optics.

The Trace-Z offers:

  • Superior color and intensity balanced images
  • 23mm field of view
  • Images can be viewed as 100% right, 100% left, divided, or overlapped, in any ratio the examiner chooses
  • Integrated camera port with a fixed 70/30% split between eye pieces and camera

To learn more about the Trace-Z, please contact Leeds or call 763.546.8575.

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NIJ Accepting Applications for Forensic Lab Funding Opportunities

Grant Funding Opportunities for forensic labsThe National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is accepting applications for two forensic grant programs:

  1. FY 2016 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program:  This program provides funds to eligible States and units of local government with existing crime laboratories that conduct DNA analysis to process, record, screen, and analyze forensic DNA and/or DNA database samples; and to increase the capacity of public forensic DNA and DNA database laboratories to process more DNA samples, thereby helping to reduce the number of forensic DNA and DNA database samples awaiting analysis.  Due date for applications is May 23, 2016.
  2. FY 2016 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program:  This program furthers the Department’s mission by providing States and units of local government with tools needed to meet the challenges of crime and justice. Specifically, this program seeks to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner/coroner’s office services, including services provided by laboratories operated by States and units of local government.  Due date for applications is April 22, 2016.

Both grant programs state that funds may be used to upgrade, replace, or purchase forensic laboratory equipment and instrumentation.

Leeds’ forensic products (including the Discovery, LCF3, LCF2, LCT, LSV2, and N-IRC) may be purchased directly through GSA Schedule Contract #GS-07F-097CA.

 

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Introducing the Discovery-Z motorized comparison microscope, designed and built by Leeds with Zeiss optics

The Discovery-Z Motorized Firearms & Tool Marks Comparison Microscope

The Discovery-Z Motorized Firearms & Tool Marks Comparison Microscope

Introducing the new Discovery-Z motorized firearms and tool marks comparison microscope.   Designed with Leeds’ new magnetic adjustable stage controllers, examiners will experience:

  • Real-time, tactile controls -provides a feeling similar to controlling a non-motorized stage
  • Positionable controls – magnetic controls can be adjusted for the most comfortable position on the work station
  • Synchronicity – allows examiner to control the left or right stage, or both stages simultaneously
Zeiss Zen Software Z-stack

Zeiss Zen Software Z-stack

Designed with two adjustable 9” x 7” stages, the Discovery-Z offers an open work station area.  Examiners can access the free-standing stages from multiple angles and the increased work surface stages can accommodate larger articles of evidence for analysis.

The Discovery-Z directly interfaces with the Zeiss Zen software, providing control of the Zeiss camera, as well as the 3-axis motorized stages. The Discovery-Z software/hardware package also offers examiners automated control of Z-stack and tiled images.

To learn more about the Discovery-Z, please contact Leeds or call 763.546.8575.

 

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Leeds Announces New Director of U.S. & Canadian Forensic Sales

Jake Kurth Director of U.S. and Canadian Sales

Jake Kurth
Director of U.S. and Canadian Sales


Leeds Forensic Systems, Inc. is pleased to announce the promotion of Jake Kurth to Director of U.S. & Canadian sales.   Jake has extensive experience in the demonstration and sale of Leeds comparison microscopes and Leeds imaging systems and is a recognized leader in the forensics industry.  Jake can be contacted by phone at 612.990.0671 or by email jkurth@leedsmicro.com.

 

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Putting Leeds Forensic Products to the Test

As a manufacturer of comparison microscopes and imaging systems for forensic and education laboratories in the United States and around the world, Leeds products often follow a similar path from start to finish:

Design – Manufacture – Install

In most situations, our products are purchased by forensic labs, residing in contained office buildings or controlled environment laboratory spaces.  In addition, we often revisit our customers, offering annual service plans to maintain these powerful microscopes and imaging systems.

Recently, we were surprised (not once, but twice) by two unique situations:

The LSV2 at a forensic conference in Saudi Arabia

The LSV2 at a forensic conference in Saudi Arabia

1)  In November of 2015, Leeds attended a forensic conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, demonstrating our LSV2 imaging system to attendees interested in using the system to identify bodily fluids on forensic evidence.  Upon arrival, our Leeds staff member discovered the booth space was outdoors, surrounded by desert heat, winds, and sand.  Our LSV2 demonstration system withstood the elements for the entire duration of the conference with no issues.  Even upon returning to our shipping dock, we found only minor remnants of sand particles.

2)  In the fall of 2015, we received an email from our customer in the middle east, along with an interesting photograph of our firearms comparison microscope.  The microscope had been donated to Afghanistan and was currently residing in the Kabul laboratory.  Interestingly enough, in order to get the microscope to this laboratory, it had

LCF-1600 in Kabul, Afghanistan

Lt Col. Omar examining evidence using the Leeds LCF-1600 in Kabul, Afghanistan.

to be transported by truck through the mountains from Bagram to Kabul over rough terrain and unpaved roads.  Our customer commented, “I personally used that scope…and considering the abuse it has faced [during transport] your product has performed exceptionally well.  I credit much of [the microscopes’] durability to the fact that the LEEDS microscope was designed for easy maintenance”.

We work hard to provide our customers with the most durable products for their forensic disciplines.  These two examples prove just how tested our equipment is.  Interested in learning more?  Please call 1.800.444.5333 or contact Leeds.

Posted in Firearms & Tool Marks, Imaging Systems, Leeds Forensic Systems, LSV2 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment