|How to identify a competent
Forensic Document Examiner
Legitimate Forensic Document Examiners
In today's world of litigation it is important to retain an expert who is competent and can survive "Daubert" and "Kumbo Tire" challenges.
The expert should have specialized training, education and be proficiency tested at least twice a year by an independent third party organization.
The examiner can use these testing results to establish an individual examiner error rate and thus demonstrate a level of competence.
Collaborative Testing Services, Inc. with more than 30 years experience in forensics inter-laboratory testing is such a service to which Forensic Practitioners can subscribe.
These tests cover different areas of forensic analysis ("CSI" issues) such as Questioned Documents, Forensic Biology/DNA, Drug Analysis, Latent Prints & Impressions, Firearms & Tool Marks, Trace Evidence, Toxicology and Crime Scene analysis.
Any claim of "government experience" is no guarantee of competence
Why is proficiency testing important?
Proficiency testing provides an independent evaluation of an examiners competency and skill.
Just as you must renew your drivers license and periodically demonstrate basic vision acuity, proficiency testing in the field of forensics provides tests of competency.
The U.S. Department of Justice published a report in August of 2009 wherein they show the importance of proficiency testing when they quoted the ASCLD/LAB position-
"A proficiency testing program is a reliable method of verifying that the laboratory's technical procedures are valid and that the quality of work is being maintained."
Why some Forensic Document Examiner's ARE NOT Proficiency Tested:
Many Forensic Document Examiners refuse formal proficiency tests giving such excuses as-
"I don't take the tests because detractors use the results against the field", or the excuse-
"I use to take such tests years ago when I worked for the government, but I don't take them now."
But if such an examiner considers him or herself a reliable practitioner, then they should subject themselves to regular formal proficiency testing to demonstrate their own ongoing competence level.
In the absence of such evidence, an untested practitioner cannot offer any independent data to show that they ever were, or are now competent.
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