The Forensic Science Research and Training Center is a section
of the FBI Laboratory Division which supports the FBI Training
Division by providing forensic training to FBI and DEA New Agents,
the National Academy, FBI in-service students, and personnel
from federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, including
crime laboratories. Additionally, it supports the FBI Laboratory
with forensic science research and quality assurance functions.
Forensic science training is provided to FBI and DEA New Agent
classes in a variety of technical areas. Forensic science courses
are offered to the FBI National Academy and accredited through
the University of Virginia's Division of Continuing Education.
The FBI in-service training program offers forensic science courses
for FBI Special Agents and FBI Laboratory examiners and technicians.
The forensic science training program also includes other federal
agencies as well as state and local agencies, providing crime
laboratory personnel with hands-on training to enhance their
basic skills and procedures, as well as introducing them to new
or more advanced techniques used in the examination of physical
evidence. All courses offered by the Forensic Science Research
and Training Center are on a cost-free basis to duly-constituted
law enforcement agencies and crime laboratories.
Forensic science research is conducted to develop new and improved
methods for the analysis of forensic evidence. The program concentrates
in the areas of biochemistry, genetics, chemistry, and physics. The
staff collaborates with researchers from academia, private industry,
and other government laboratories, as well as state and local forensic
laboratories. For example, one of the most notable ongoing research
initiatives is DNA analysis technology. This initiative includes research
and development of valid and reliable DNA typing methods, training of
state, local, and foreign crime laboratory personnel, providing expert
testimony in DNA admissibility hearings, development of a system for
the comparison of DNA profiles among American crime laboratories, and
hosting symposia for the exchange of scientific data on DNA. Research
projects include the use of personnel in the Visiting Science Program,
which was established to enable qualified scientists from outside the
FBI to participate in original research projects. Additionally, the
Honors Intern Program provides
a challenging working experience for college students working toward
a science degree and aims to attract qualified students into forensic
The quality assurance efforts promote and monitor proper laboratory
practices that apply primarily to forensic examination techniques.
Through the use of proficiency tests, protocol review, and annual
audits, overall laboratory activities can be defined and standardized,
and laboratory practices improved. Occupational safety and health
programs for the Laboratory Division are also monitored.