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Forensic Practitioners' Credentials Come Under Fire

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Posted: April 18, 2012   3:00 PM

Photo: NAS Co-Chairs, Harry Edwards and Constantine Gatsonis.
Through a joint project of PBS’ Frontline, ProPublica and the UC Berkeley School of Journalism, a Berkeley graduate student in journalism discovered that she was able to receive certification as a forensic consultant from the American College of Forensic Examiners International (ACFEI) after taking a single, open-book, multiple-choice exam online.

Several former ACFEI employees call the group a mill designed to churn out and sell as many certificates as possible. They say applicants receive cursory, if any, background checks and that virtually everyone passes the group’s certification exams as long as their payments clear.
Some forensic professionals say the organization’s willingness to hand out credentials diminishes the integrity of the field.

The joint project, which investigates several shortcomings of the forensic science system, follows a landmark 2009 National Academy of Sciences report that challenged the scientific basis and rigor of forensics. The report’s chief recommendation, that a national entity to establish and enforce higher standards in the forensic sciences, has not yet been implemented.
Read the full article “No Forensic Background? No Problem
Read additional coverage, including an interview with the former co-chair of the National Academy of Sciences, Harry T. Edwards who discusses the need for a national forensic science entity.
For more about the National Academy of Sciences report.

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