Professional Forensic Science Associations
Affiliation with forensic associations enhances networking capabilities and provides a mechanism to meet with professional staff and other students in the forensic community.
Most societies offer student memberships that allow a student to attend meetings and may provide a newsletter. Becoming a member of a professional association is well worth the investment for those who plan to work in this field.
In California, the most significant organization is the California Association of Criminalists (CAC). The CAC represents over 500 professionals from California and some of the Western states. The CAC is a well funded organization with an endowment fund of $1.2 million dollars from which they sponsor free courses for their members and provide limited funds for focused research effort. They host two seminars each year, one in the North and one in the South. In addition, the CAC sponsors local study groups in a diverse range of topics
The American Academy of Forensic Science is made up of the premier national level groups, who are representing forensic scientists. The AAFS is made up of several sections such as Criminalists, General, Jurisprudence, Pathology, Engineering etc. The AAFS holds one annual conference each year, usually in February at various locations around the country. At this conference, one can expect to see members from all over the US and foreign countries. The papers presented at this conference can number from 500-600.
The Northwest Association of Forensic Scientists generally represents approximately 270 forensic science members from forensic laboratories located in, but not limited to, the following states: Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana , Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. The NWAFS hosts two forensic science five-day seminars each year.
The California Association of Toxicologists, founded in 1967, is a professional and educational association of forensic and clinical toxicologists throughout North America and abroad. The CAT objectives are:
To promote the mutual exchange of information within the field of toxicology and the discussion of professional problems of common interest; and
To improve the practice, elevate the standards, and advance the cause of toxicology.
The CAT holds meetings on a quarterly schedule, February, May, August, and November. Usually the meetings are held on a Friday and Saturday at various locations throughout California.
The Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners. (AFTE) is an international organization dedicated to the advancement of the discipline of Firearm & Toolmark Identification. It is the only such dedicated organization in the world and as such, has the interest of Firearms and Toolmark examiners all over the world. The AFTE holds one annual (one week) Training Seminar each year. This seminar is typically held in May or June of each year.
A society composed of crime lab directors and supervisors. An associated organization is ASCLD/LAB which is the separate organization that constitutes the members of the accredited laboratories in ASCLD.
This organization represents the forensic scientists in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and the surrounding states.
Below are some of the more useful forensic science-related Web sites:
The California Criminalistics Institute offers training to Governmental Forensic Scientists from various crime labs and selected private individuals. Each year, they present about 40-50 one-week courses in various topics.
The California Attorney General has a site that provides employment information, special topics, research reports and other relevant criminal justice information.
The National Institute of Justice provides grant funds to law enforcement agencies and crime labs.
Contra Costa County Crime Lab provides forensic science service to Contra Costa County and for a fee, also takes in cases from adjacent cities and counties.
Cal DOJ Bureau of Forensic Services has ten crime labs statewide, and a central DNA lab in Richmond.
San Francisco PD Crime Lab is now located in Hunters Point, a former US Navy Shipyard facility
Forensic Analytical, located in Hayward, CA provides fee based forensic services to public agencies and private clients.
Forensic Science Associates
Forensic Science Associates, a Bay area company that provides consulting services.
Crime Scene Training group
National Crime Investigation and Training provides crime scene training in the Western US.
The FBI Crime lab in Quantico, VA and its various resources for the forensic community
UCD Veterinary Genetics
The UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory and its forensic testing.