21st SEMI-ANNUAL SEMINAR (Spring 1961)
CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINALISTS
March 12-13, 1961
APPLICATION OF INFRA-RED TO MODERN CRIME DETECTION
Neil Rowe, Wright Engineering Company
Neil Rowe of the Wright Engineering Company demonstrated the new ITT Infra-Red Viewer. This device was markedly superior to the military snooperscopes and adaptable for use at very close range with satisfactory results. Thus, it would be excellent for examination of wounds or blood stained fabric for gunpowder residue, altered or obliterated writing on documents, etc.
The following day John F. Williams also showed a similar device called the Metascope handled by Fargo Company.
IDENTIFICATION OF LOPHOPHORA
Discussion of the botanical and chemical identification of mescal. The April-June l959 U.N. Bulletin on Narcotics contained an article on lophophora which should be consulted by those interested in this subject. Copies of part of this Bulletin, as well as other data presented by Penprase, were distributed. If laboratories not receiving copies at the Seminar are interested, contact Penprase.
IDENTIFICATION OF AMPHETAMINES
Discussed the separation and purification of amphetamines as well as identification by color, crystal and instrumental methods. Data included in literature material above which was distributed and is available from Penprase.
REPORT OF AAFS CRIMINALISTICS SECTION METHODS COMMITTEE
A report on Study No. 2--Seminal Stains. Of the 23 laboratories receiving specimens, only 12 returned reports. The need for participation in such studies should be apparent and all CAC members are urged to take part in future ones. Not only is this an opportunity for each laboratory to conduct analyses on identical unknown specimens but also the exact procedures used by different laboratories throughout the country can be determined. Study No. 3 will be on Firearms. Members interested in participating should contact Longhetti.
SOME EFFECTS PRODUCED BY THE IMPACT FRACTURING OF GLASS
In order to study the effects produced when window glass is fractured by hard objects, a series of tests were made by breaking framed windows with a piece of brick. These tests were filmed with high speed cameras. The films clearly showed the fracturing effects which occurred. Of primary interest was the fact that on a low velocity throw, glass particles unexpectedly flew 6' to 8' from the window in the direction from which the missile came. On a high velocity throw, glass particles flew 12' to 14' in the direction from which the missile was thrown.
ORAL INTERVIEWS OF PROSPECTIVE CRIMINALISTS
Criminalists with adequate education and experience are becoming increasingly difficult to find. In a recent examination for Criminalists for the Los Angeles Police Department this resulted in the Civil Service Board reducing the basic requirements as well as limiting the examination to a half hour oral interview. Harding and Cadman assisted Pinker in these oral examinations. Out of 46 applicants, only 6 passed the examination. Many not only knew no chemistry but were uneducated and even stupid. Many candidates, however, spoke with authority and would have easily fooled oral boards which did not include qualified Criminalists.
The Los Angeles experience again demonstrates the need for adequate examinations which should include the following:
- Adequate educational and experience requirements.
- A written examination for screening purposes so that obviously unqualified applicants will not have to be examined by the oral board.
- Oral examination with at least one experienced Criminalist on the board. This part of the examination is of most importance in selecting the best applicant but only if one or more Criminalists are on the board.
Further comments were made by Cadman and Harding as well as by other members. It was suggested that members build up rapport with their local civil service boards and attempt to impress upon them the need for selecting suitably qualified criminalists to serve on oral boards when examinations for police laboratory personnel are given.
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN CRIMINALISTICS - 1960
A review of the articles and other publications in the criminalistic field during 1960. Copies of this review available from Longhetti upon request.
MAGNABRUSH KIT FOR LATENT FINGERPRINT DEVELOPMENT
Paul L. Kirk
Demonstration of a new magnetic powder development method. Developed latent prints with spectacular results on many surfaces (including Kleenex). Kit including applicator and several types of powders and is available from Macdonnell Associates, Box 1111, Corning, New York ($12.50). Further comments on Magnabrush later made by Reed McLaughlin of Los Angeles Police Department where it has been used on several cases.
DEVELOPMENTS IN TOXICOLOGY - 1960
A review of articles and books appeared during 1960 in the field of toxicology. Copies were distributed and can be obtained directly from Hansel.
DETERMINATION OF DRUGS IN URINE
Although presented at this Seminar, the paper was reviewed in the Newsletter of December 1960 (Vol. III, No. 2, Item 15).
A PORTABLE BREATH ALCOHOL GAS CHROMATOGRAPH
M.L. Moberg, Aerojet General
Mr. M.L. Moberg of Aerojet General discussed and demonstrated a new device that he is working on. This is a small gas chromatograph which, together with a small helium tank and gauges, could be carried and operated in a patrol car using a car battery as a power source. As soon as the present development work is completed, devices will be loaned to interested southern California laboratories for experimental work and field testing. Although it is apparent that further work must be done with this instrument, preliminary indications are that it may be developed into a very useful breath alcohol test device.
VIEWPOINT OF THE DEFENSE EXPERT
A talk concerning the need for defense experts in some criminal as well as in civil cases. A number of statements made by so called "experts" in recent cases were read. These again showed the need for not only defense experts but also the importance of suitable qualifications for Criminalists or others testifying as expert witnesses.
Comments were made concerning a number of death cases which should be classified as accidental rather than suicide. They were unique fatalities resulting from sexual excitement procedures wherein the subject was attempting to approach the point of death but may not have intended suicide. While admittedly outside the normal field of the Criminalist, it is likely that criminalists will occasionally be involved in such investigations and should therefore be aware of some of the usual findings made in such cases.
GAS CHROMATOGRAPH OF SYMPATHOMIMETIC AMINES
Discussed extraction procedures and separation and identification using a Chromatoflex with a 6' carbowax column. Method will also assist in distinguishing between "prescription" vs. "over the counter" types. Data sheet distributed and available from Cromp.
WHERE IS CRIMINALISTICS GOING?
Paul L. Kirk
The school of criminology at the University of California has requested a Ph.D. program and a decision is expected shortly as to whether or not it will be established. The general university feeling is that criminology, and particularly criminalistics, is a vocation while those engaged in this field feel that it is a profession.
Criteria which apply to a profession includes: training (must be thorough and directed toward essentials), established standards of conduct (or ethics) and established standards of competence. Training is of most importance and is necessary if a field of endeavor is to be classified as a profession and competent workers in that profession are to be developed. Dr. Kirk (as well as most CAC members) believes that in most instances we should train criminalists as such and not attempt to make criminalists out of a chemist or other specialized scientist. While many present-day criminalists, including some members of CAC, were originally trained as chemists and are now highly respected criminalists, this does not mean that this method of training is the best. All criminalists must have thorough education in the field of chemistry but in addition they need instruction in specific fields such as toxicology, microscopy, physiological fluid problems, identification of industrial and natural products as well as training and experience in the fields of physical matching and firearms identification.
To increase and develop professional training in the field of criminalistics, more schools, instructors, and students are necessary. At present the University of California is the only university in the country furnishing professional training in criminalistics. Many more colleges and universities should have such programs. There are also few competent instructors with the necessary academic degrees who are available. In addition, there are presently insufficient students interested in undertaking training in this field. In the last few years the number of students has decreased even though opportunities for employment are now excellent which was not the case when the University of California criminalistic classes were larger. The starting income for Criminalists is also very good as compared with many other academic fields.
In the opinion of Dr. Kirk, the CAC should do more to lead in the development of suitable academic training and consequent professionalization. He suggested that in order for us to become known as a professional group that we consider the future publication of a journal which might obtain wide distribution. In addition, the publication of monographs would be a very desirable enterprise. At the present time, he is completing a monograph on the establishment and operation of a crime laboratory. It was suggested that CAC might consider the publication of a monograph (a) on standards of training, conduct and competence.
Although only a brief condensation of Dr. Kirk's comments have been included here, considerable discussion followed. In order to further develop our thoughts in connection with the general problem of "Where Criminalistics is Going," professionalization, increased training in this field, etc., the Executive Secretary appointed Ray Pinker and Lowell Bradford to a committee which would include Dr. Paul Kirk. It was suggested that Pinker and Bradford attempt to lead discussions at southern and northern California local meetings of members of CAC concerning the material discussed at the Seminar. Such discussions should assist us as an organization in advancing the field and professionalization of criminalistics. They would also assist us in more rapidly taking necessary action at future seminars. At the same time, Elliott Hansel was appointed to investigate the possibilities of the publication of a Journal. It is hoped that all members will seriously consider this subject so that further discussions can be held at the fall Seminar in San Francisco. This is a matter that should not be put off indefinitely and, if we are going to further the purposes of CAC as covered in Article 2 of our constitution, we, as an organization, should take some definite action as soon as possible.