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Forensics and Imaging: Prime Time
by Barry Mazor
Paul T. Ginouves is Director of Marketing, Instruments and Biomedical Markets, at Coherent, Inc., in Santa Clara, CA. (www.coherentInc.com).
Dave McGee is a Forensic Imaging Consultant for Optronics of Goleta, GA. (www.optronics.com).
Dean Sequera is Vice-President of Marketing & Product Development at Media Cybernetics, in Silver Spring, MD. (www.mediacy.com).
Pete Gagliardi is Vice-President of Marketing at Forensic Technologies, Inc., of Washington, DC. (www.fti-ibis.com).
With not one but several prime-time dramas featuring extensive use of robust imaging techniques for forensics in their storylines, week after week, there's never been a time when more people had some clue about the role of imaging in investigations. This fact is more heady than useful for forensic imaging pros themsleves, of course, who now, as always, are looking to see where new capabilities will lead them next. That's the focus of this month's roundtable.
HELP IN TIGHT TIMES
Advanced Imaging: A blunt question to begin with: How can advanced forensic imaging tools such as intelligent computer-based image comparison help law enforcement agencies which are facing increased workloads, shortages of forensic examiners and shrinking budgets?
Paul Ginouves, Coherent: When you have tools that reduce or eliminate subjectivity in a measurement or comparison, you can only save time, additional verification steps, and, ultimately, money. Undeniably, there's a start-up cost for the tool, but you have to take the long view. A successful intelligence or law enforcement agency, like any other highly effective organization, has to embrace the same quality maxims that drive successful businesses. The thrust behind most quality deployment exercises is that when you bring the right tools to bear and expend the right amount of time and effort up-front, one yields faster end-results and greater customer satisfaction. In the case of law enforcement or homeland security, the customer might be a prosecutor, or national security advisor, but the analogy holds. It's all about taking the limited amount of manpower and time and putting it to the best and most productive use. In the case of our product, the Incriminator forensic laser system, we see the greatest uptake in agencies where it's mission-critical to gather all the evidence quickly, on the first go-around.