of the American Board
P.O. Box 1123
Wausau, WI 54402-1123
Volume 8 Issue 2 Winter 2001
P R E S I D E N T ’ S M E S S A G E
Your commitment to continued professional development
I f this newsletter was sent directly to you, then their knowledge? Was it that the laboratory manage-
you are one of those dedicated professionals ment paid the examination registration costs or sup-
certified by the ABC as a Diplomate, Fellow, and/or ported your attendance at the test site event? Was it a
Technical Specialist. This President’s message is mandatory requirement of your supervisor? Or was it
directed to you. So, before you pass this newsletter on simply being told by a certified colleague that your
to one of your not-yet-certified colleagues (and I know goal was attainable? Maybe it was just one moment,
you do) take a moment to read
or several, but everyone that
it, absorb it, and pass on your
has committed to participating
experiences to a colleague.
in the certification process has
I am very proud of your ac-
memories of what kept them
complishments – as you should
CERTIFICATION moving toward their goal.
be and so should your col-
The ABC Mission: To
leagues. To become a holder of
raise the level of competence in
a Certificate of Professional
forensic science through peer-
Read this message
Competency issued by the ABC
based certification and promo-
is not a simple process. It tells
tion of professional develop-
absorb it, and pass
your colleagues that you are
ment. The ABC is dedicated to
committed to your profession
the highest standards and pro-
and willing to challenge your-
grams for scientists involved in
self. The examinations offered
the administration of justice.
experiences to a
by the ABC are not trivial and
Keeping our Mission in
passing the exam requires a
mind, I suggest ABC Certified
strong personal commitment and
individuals take just a few
both professional and personal
moments to reflect on the
portion that states “... peer-
I would like you to take a moment and think back to
based certification and promotion of professional
the time prior to sitting for the examination. What was development.” There are greater than 520 forensic
most meaningful to you in your preparation for taking professionals across the United States and other
the exam? What stands out as the most important factor
countries certified by the ABC. I suggest that each
in your success? Was it the hours a week you carved and every one of you take a few moments of time to
out of your busy schedule to read and study? Was it the
promote professional development with your
litany of questions you asked your fellow colleagues in colleagues. Answer the litany of questions posed to
their area of expertise? Was it their willingness to share
Presidents Message continued on page 2
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE CONTINUED:
you by the colleague preparing for the exam. Tell them that their goal is attainable. Remind them that taking
an ABC exam is not trivial. If you are a laboratory manager find ways to assist your staff in obtaining their
goal. The rewards will not only be for the colleague taking the exam, but to yourself in knowing that you
assisted an individual in promoting his/her professional development, and the Criminalistics profession by
having an additional member that has objectively demonstrated their ability to competently manage or direct
casework involving multiple disciplines.
Thinking back on how I utilized my time before taking the General Knowledge and the Molecular Biology
examinations I realized just how many individuals assisted me in achieving my goals. My laboratory manager,
whom supports certification, instilled in me the importance of acquiring as much general knowledge as
possible because the GKE was not trivial or simple. My colleague who spent three hours of his precious time
teaching me firearms safety, an area in which my knowledge was limited. The formation of a GKE study
group composed of professionals with a wide variety of expertise. And ultimately, my family, for giving me
the time I needed and supported my effort in obtaining my goal of Certification.
Spread the word, encourage a colleague, and support a friend in pursuing their certification goals and our
profession will be richer for your efforts. Thank You!
As I close this message, I want to recognize our colleagues who are tasked with evaluating and analyzing the
enormous amount of physical evidence generated as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the
United States. I thank you for your strength and willingness to do your job under tremendous personal and
Jennifer Mihalovich – ABC President
HOST A TEST
Are your colleagues having a hard time
getting to a test offering?
Make life easier and encourage your
When adding your certification accomplishment to your
signature block, the ABC encourages you to use
colleagues by bringing the test to them.
The ABC will proctor a test at your lab!
D– ABC for Diplomate
All you need is for five or more people to
F-ABC for Fellow
register and the ABC will cover the expenses of
S-ABC for Technical Specialist
getting an ABC test administrator to your site.
Let these marks of distinction bring you
Even if there are only 1 to 4 people, the ABC
recognition for the effort you put into meeting the
will absorb half the cost.
Contact the ABC registrar, Mike Haas, at
715.845.3684 to get the ball rolling.
American Board of Criminalistics
To raise the level of competence in Forensic Science through peer based certification and
promotion of professional development.
The American Board of Criminalistics is dedicated to the highest quality standards and
programs for certification of scientists involved in the administration of justice.
Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board (FSAB)
— What is it and what is it doing? —
By Rick Tontarski
Background - Historical
The Forensic Specialty Accreditation Board (FSAB) was established to develop standards for an accreditation
program for forensic certification bodies. It evolved from an AAFS Accreditation and Certification Task Force that
began as an initiative to formally recognize legitimate forensic certifying organizations. The inherent value to a cer-
tifying organization and its certificant, is that accreditation of the certifying program demonstrates credibility/
validity/reliability of the professional standards of the certification program. It arguably lays the foundation for an
An initial informational meeting was held at the AAFS meeting February 1998. Fourteen forensic organiza-
tions were represented at the meeting. The Task Force held its first meetings following the informational session.
Over the next two plus years the task force developed a plan for the creation of the FSAB, drafted its articles of
incorporation, and developed draft by-laws and operating procedures. The FSAB was incorporated in Colorado on
June 23, 2000.
The FSAB consists of nine Initial Nominating Organizations (INO) and 5 at-large members. The representa-
tives are listed below.
Graham Jones President/At-Large Steve
Vice-President/American Board of
Mary Fran Ernst American Board of Medicolegal
Toxicology Death Investigators, Inc.
Carol Henderson Public Director Susan
American Board of Forensic
Forensic Toxicology Certification
American Board of Forensic Document Joe Polski
Treasurer/American Board of
International Institute of Forensic
Association of Forensic Document
International Association for
One representative from each of these INOs will make up the FSAB — with 5 "At-Large" equivalent
representatives, for five years. The “at-large” representatives currently are four founding members originally
selected by the Academy to create and incorporate the FSAB, and the Public Director. After five years, certifying
bodies, who are accredited by FSAB, will be able to nominate representatives to the FSAB Board. There is a
maximum of 25 directors allowed on the Board per the by-laws. Therefore, there is no guarantee that every
organization will have a representative on the Board.
The FSAB appears to be a strong organization of member representatives. The tone of discussions and
effectiveness of working together speaks well for the future of the FSAB. The two Boards for QD and Toxicology
sat and talked through some of their differences, and progress was made to form stronger ties and harmonize. The
redundancy has historical roots that can't be denied, but there is common ground available for advancing these fields
through collaborative action.
Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board (FSAB) continued:
A B C C A L E N D A R
PLEASE POST ON YOUR LAB BULLETIN BOARD
February 13, 2002
All ABC Exams, AAFS Meeting
Carol Hunter 310/763-2374
Deadline December 13, 2001
Deadline February 24, 2002
May 11, 2002
All ABC Exams, CAC Meeting
Jennifer Mihalovich 510/238-3386
Deadline March 11, 2002
San Francisco, California
Deadline March 24, 2002
New York, New York
September 18, 2002
All ABC Exams, MAFS Meeting
Dani Bergman 651/642-0700
Deadline July 18, 2002
Deadline August 18, 2002
Huntington Beach, California
Consider studying for one of these future offerings.
SAFS – Fall 2002 – Biloxi, MS., Spring 2003 – Savannah, GA., Spring 2004 – New Iberia, LA., Fall 2004 Orlando, FL.
To arrange to sit for an examination, you must contact the Registrar by letter or fax (715-845-4156) by the deadline listed.
Local contacts are provided for conference information only.
To arrange for ABC Exams to be administered in your laboratory, contact your regional representative.
s c i
NOTES FROM THE
Replacement ABC lapel pins can be purchased from the Registrar for $10: Make checks
payable to the ABC. Additional ABC lapel pins can be purchased by certificate holders
for $10 each. There is not a separate lapel pin for Fellows.
Additional copies of the Directory can be purchased for $10.
The ABC no longer utilizes the AAFS Offices for maintenance of records. Therefore, changes of
address reported to the AAFS for your AAFS Membership will not be forwarded to the ABC
Registrar’s Office. The ABC cannot track our certificate holders without current addresses, so
in order to better serve our certificate holders, changes of address must be reported directly to
the ABC Registrar’s Office.
Recertification paperwork should be submitted in triplicate, one original and two copies.
If certificate holders or certificate-eligible individuals choose not to submit recertification
paperwork by March 1st for any year, for any reason, they are still responsible for paying the
$30 maintenance fees for that year. Payment increases to $40 if received between March 2nd
and May 31st. If payment is made after June 1st of that year, the fees increase to $50. For
each year that maintenance fees are not paid, an additional $10 non-payment fee is added to
ABC Shirt Order Form
White short sleeve
W/ ABC logo
$27 plus $3 shipping and handling
No exchanges or refunds
Mail this form with a check payable to
the ABC to:
American Board of Criminalistics
P.O. Box 1123
Wausau, WI 54402-1123
ABC BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jennifer Mihalovich - CAC
Oakland Police Department Crime Lab
Peter Barnett - CAC
Vice President Gregory B. Matheson - CAC At Large
Forensic Science Associates
Los Angeles Police Dept. Crime Laboratory
Vice Chair Robert Parsons - SAFS
Lynn Henson - SAFS At Large
Refional Crime Lab at IRCC
US Army Criminal Investigation Lab
Albert Lyter - MAAFS
Dan Bergman - MAFS
Federal Forensic Associates
Minnestota BCA Lab
Reta Newman - AAFS Criminalistics Section
Susan Blankenship - MAAFS
Pinellas County Forensic Laboratory
Hagerstown Police Department
Dave Green - MAFS
Lake County Regional Forensic Laboratory
Carol Hunter - AAFS, Criminalistics Section
Forensic Analytical Inc.
Edward Bernstein - NEAFS
Agawam Crime Laboratory
Lawrence Presley - ASTM E-30
Elizabeth Ziolkowski - ASTM E-30
Boston Police Department Crime Lab
Michael Healy - SAFS
Manatee County Crime Laboratory
Frank Schehr - ASCLD
Judy O’Connor - NEAFS
Certification News is the official publication of the American Board of
New York Police Department
Criminalistics. Published semi-annually in summer and winter.
Address questions or comments to:
Greg Matheson, editor
David Epstein - ASCLD At Large
c/o Los Angeles Police Department Criminalistics Laboratory
555 Ramirez St. Sp 270 Los Angeles, CA 90012
FAX 213.847.0040 e-mail: GBM1@aol.com
Ed Rhodes Award
Dan Bergman – Chair
Mary Kate McGilvray – Chair
Mike Healy – Chair
Marketing Ad Hoc
UK Competency Assessment
Frank Schehr – Chair
Lydia de Castro
Training and Education
Liaison Ad Hoc
Rick Tontarski – Chair
Carol Hunter – Chair
SUMMARY FINANCIAL REPORT
Respectfully Submitted – Dani Bergman – ABC Treasurer
AUGUST 1990 – OCTOBER 2001
ABC GENERAL ACCOUNTS
PROFIT & LOSS STATEMENT
JANUARY 1, 2001 – OCTOBER 31, 2001
340 General Test Fees
350 Specialty Exam Fees
General Test Fees
Specialty Exam Fees
Technical Exam Fees
430 Bank Fees
TOTAL INCOME LESS EXPENSES $ 5,913.53
INCOME LESS EXPENSES
To Money Market
FSAB meetings are “working meetings” much like the original (Editor’s comment – and current) ABC Board
meetings…long hours, few breaks, and little food. All motivating factors for getting the work done.
Some FSAB Activities To Date
• The fourth meeting of the FSAB was held in October in Orlando. Some of the on-going work is listed below.
• The FSAB by-laws have been finalized.
• A Policies and Procedures manual detailing how the FSAB will operate is nearing completion.
• The Application for certifying bodies to apply for accreditation is a work in progress. The Application will
become the basis for developing a set of measures to be applied during application review and serve to set of
performance measures for standards interpretation.
• The FSAB policy on “grandfathering” has been set. The FSAB will require that the members of all certifying
bodies must have competency testing that is relevant to the specific discipline being certified. When certifying
bodies are applying for accreditation they may have not more than 49% of their members certified by
“grandfathering”. Persons who were “grandfathered” must submit to appropriate examination / competency
testing when they are due for recertificaton. All certifying body members must comply with all FSAB standards
within 5 years of application for accreditation.
• The AAFS has agreed to become a sponsoring organization of the FSAB.
• The development of the FSAB website is moving forward. The address is “thefsab.org”. IAI will host the site
when it is operational.
• The FSAB is pursuing an additional grant from NIJ to continue supporting the development effort.
• Liability insurance options are being explored.
Next ABC Steps
Starting in the 2002, the fees for American Board of Criminalistics (ABC) will be $750/year, because we have
over 500 certificants. There is a sliding scale - with smaller organizations paying less and those above 500 paying
the most. IAI and ABC are currently the only two organizations in the "upper class". No decisions have been made
yet about the application fee or re-accreditation fee to be charged applicant certification boards.
I will distribute documents and advice as received from FSAB to ABC for consideration and use as we develop
our application and compliance specifications. There appear to be only a few, quite manageable, organizational
modifications that will be required for ABC to meet the FSAB international standards and thereby gain accreditation.
The ultimate benefit for forensic science will be that certification credibility is significantly enhanced through graded
compliance with international standards.
My thanks to Carl Selavka and the ABC Board for giving me the opportunity to represent you in this venture.
If you have any questions, or have information that would be helpful for me to consider in support of our activities
with FSAB, please contact me at RETontarsk@atfhq.atf.treas.gov.
THE ABC LOGO
As the ABC was forming, Jo Ann Becker
designed the ABC Logo. The five rays
entering the prism represent the original five
members of the ABC; CAC, MAAFS, SAS,
NEAFS, and MAFS. The founding
Associations came together to form a unified
certification program for the whole profession.
Since that date the membership has grown,
but the logo continues to represent the roots of