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Science Thursday - November 15, 2012

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Posted: November 15, 2012   9:00 PM

A coroner in Ohio proposes a collaborative effort with the University of Cincinnati, new biometric software could lead to the identification of people who fire weapons, and limited funding and space compromise a Texas crime lab. Here’s this week’s round up of forensic news:
In Corpus Christi, Texas, the Department of Public Safety crime lab instituted new measures to deal with the backlog of evidence, such as placing limits on biological or toxicology samples from cases. Though a lab is set to open next year, the current situation has "significant impact on the ability of the laboratory system to conduct controlled substance analysis in a timely manner."
In order to overcome a lack of lab space and funding shortcomings in the coroner’s office, a newly elected Ohio coroner proposed a collaborative project with the University of Cincinnati. Discussions are in the preliminary stages, but the union could leverage costs while providing the coroner’s office with academic support through the school’s criminal justice and medical programs.
As biometric surveillance becomes increasingly common across the nation, a new advancement combines acoustic gunshot detectors with facial recognition software to pinpoint and potentially identify individuals who fire weapons. The software compares the shooter’s image against a database and creates a profile if one does not exist.
After misconduct forced the Hinton State crime lab in Massachusetts to close, news that a bigger drug lab had been proposed 25 years ago surfaced. The project, costing approximately $6 million, was scrapped due to community resistance.

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