Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

KBI to Celebrate Role in Criminal Justice during National Forensic Science Week ; Science: Technology Improving

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

KBI to Celebrate Role in Criminal Justice during National Forensic Science Week ; Science: Technology Improving

Article excerpt

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation will recognize the role of forensic science in law enforcement and the criminal justice system during National Forensic Science Week, which runs Aug. 8-12.

It is an opportunity to celebrate what we do on a daily basis, said KBI lab director Mike Van Stratton.

The week will include speakers, tours of the KBI's center on the Washburn University campus by law enforcement officials and recognition of the work carried out by the bureau's scientists, said Jacqueline Hayworth, who coordinated the week's events.

One of those scientists is Kelly Ohlstein, who works in the latent print unit. The unit receives evidence from across the state, processes and preserves fingerprint impressions.

In some situations, such as the February shooting in Hesston, Ohlstein is called out to the field. She spent three days at the Excel Industries plant diagramming and collecting evidence. It was a challenge because of the facility's large space and the number of people injured, Ohlstein said. The attack left four people including the shooter dead and more than a dozen injured.

Ohlstein said the quality of prints are affected by a number of factors including sweat and oil, how hard or lightly a surface was touched, the smoothness of the surface and if there was movement.

Evidence isn't going to lie, Ohlstein said.

And it proves innocence or guilt.

We don't work for one side or the other, we work to get sound scientific results, Hayworth said.

"We always have to be right," Van Stratton said.

Destiny Bryan is a supervisor in the DNA databank unit. The unit puts DNA profiles into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) to search for a match.

"We get about 40 hits a month," Bryan said.

Because technology is progressing, less and less DNA is needed to get a profile -- a sample about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen will work, Bryan said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.