Development of Full Service

The establishment of laboratories designed for the mission of forensic entomology would benefit the science as a whole. The forensic entomology department of the Criminal Research Institute of the French Gendarmerie, created in 1992, is an excellent model (Gaudry et al. 2001). Their department is charged with three main duties: offering expert services in criminal investigations, educating crime scene investigators, and conducting research. Their first task involves the analysis of evidence collected at the scene (species identification and PMI estimation) and offering expert testimony at trial. Their second task, educating crime scene investigators, is extremely important, as well. Investigators appropriately trained in the collection and preservation of insect specimens at the scene will generate useable specimens. The third task, conducting research, not only provides information applicable to their casework, it also furthers the science of forensic entomology.

Their mission statements are well-designed, as is their organizational structure. The Criminal Institute of the French Gendarmerie is an interdisciplinary organization. Many sub-disciplines of forensic science can corroborate with ease and draw upon each other's expertise. For example, the toxicology department can be called upon in cases where the presence of drugs is suspected. Or, the biology department can generate sequence data for species determinations. Scanning electron micrographs can be generated by the microanalysis department. This is the ideal scenario. Often, even though a particular specialized analysis would be beneficial, the difficulty of obtaining these services is prohibitive. Within an interdisciplinary system, evidentiary samples can remain in-house instead of being out-sourced to experts in other locales. This not only increases the likelihood that samples will be subjected to further analysis, it also avoids potential chain of custody issues.

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