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DFS - Science Advisory Board Meeting Minutes and Agenda 7/18/14

Department of Forensic Sciences

Science Advisory Board Meeting and Agenda

Friday, July 18, 2014

Director Houck called the Science Advisory Board meeting to order at 9:05 a.m., Friday, July 18, 2014.  He welcomed everyone in attendance and explained that the appointed meeting space was attributed to the demand for use of limited larger meeting space throughout the Consolidated Forensic Laboratory. Director Houck reviewed the order of business for the day during which individual panel presentations from DFS unit managers, divisional laboratory directors and deputy directors would be heard. Although the Deputy Director for IT was not available at the time of the board meeting, a report on the DFS LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) was prepared for the Advisory Board.

The minutes of the April 18, 2014, meeting were reviewed and approved. Director Houck reminded the convening members that the proceedings were being recorded and that annotation to the meeting minutes would disclose the availability of an audio recording upon request. Board member Jay Siegel inquired about plans for the remaining meetings of 2014. Director Houck reported that preliminary discussions included convening the next meeting at the Consolidated Forensic Laboratory during the fall and the final quarterly meeting of 2014 via audio or video teleconference.  DFS IT would be consulted for identification of appropriate teleconference protocol and board notification will follow. Board member Charlotte Word inquired about the scheduling of the next meeting and Board members in attendance unanimously agreed to convene the next meeting October 7, 2014, at the Consolidated Forensic Laboratory.

Submission of requests for travel reimbursement was briefly discussed. Board members were reminded that actual receipts would be required for reimbursement, as lodging rates exceeded the District’s/Federal lodging per diem.

Board member Sandy Zabell expressed interest in fire forensics and the relationship between the DFS and the ATF, as well as case interaction among MPD, FEMS and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Director Houck explained that while DFS often liaises with Washington Field Offices of federal agencies including the ATF, FBI and the Secret Service Uniformed Division, the DFS generally has no connection with investigation of those types of cases. Board member Jay Siegel recommended having the opportunity to meet with all DFS scientists in separate group settings apart from management. Dr. Siegel also inquired about the prospects of the Science Advisory Board interfacing with the DFS Stakeholder Council.

Management Introductions/Divisions and Units Overview

DFS Unit Managers: Morris Blaylock (Microbiology); Jeff Cover (Crime Scene Sciences); Nicolas Epie (Virology); Horng Kan (Bio-Terrorism); Sam Marso (Firearms); Natasha Pettus (Central Evidence Unit); Paul Reedy (Digital Evidence); Jessica Schneider (Latent Fingerprints); Luke Short (Chemistry); Jennifer Zeffer (DNA).

Divisional Directors: Alpha Diallo (Public Health Laboratory); Jason Kolowski (Forensic Science Laboratory); Randall Wampler (Crime Scene Sciences).

Deputy Directors: Brittany Graham (Training); Karen Wiggins (Quality); Michael Dyke (IT/not present).

Christine Funk, General Counsel, reported an incident involving a possible packaging error, and a recent allegation of professional negligence or misconduct via an anonymous email sent to local District leaders.

Christopher Maguire, Deputy Director, reported developments of casework objectives; department automation and robotic systems; DNA testing; and Public Health Laboratory testing and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) accreditation.

Director Houck briefly discussed the DFS internship program, research and the possible development of a leadership position for program oversight.

The Science Advisory Board meeting adjourned at 3:10 p.m.

An audio recording of the meeting is available upon request.