Expert Details

Expert in Forensic Scientist

Expert ID: 735838 California, USA

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I have been involved in public service as a forensic scientist for nearly 30 years, both with the County and City of San Diego. I have served in every role in the Crime Laboratory from bench analyst to Laboratory Director. I have attended hundreds of hours of scientific and leadership training, becoming an expert in several forensic disciplines. I started my career as a forensic toxicologist, working in two different laboratories analyzing blood and urine samples for a variety of illegal substances. I spent 10 years in Trace Evidence, specializing in hair, fiber, paint, shoe print, tire track, arson, unknown substances, and physical match analysis. I spent 10+ years as a crime scene reconstructionist, attending dozens of scenes to reconstruct bloodstain patterns and firearm trajectories. I spent 7 years supervising the Forensic Chemistry Section and the Crime Scene Reconstruction Program for the San Diego Police Department. Under my watch we helped develop the emergency “Spice ordinance”, considered the toughest of its kind in the state of California, banning the sale, manufacture, possession and distribution of spice and its analogs. As the Crime Laboratory Manager, I brought new technologies online, envisioned the creation of forensic disciplines, planned seminars, and oversaw laboratory construction. I wrote manuals, conducted training, managed projects, and implemented leadership strategies. I testified over 200 times in criminal cases, breaking down intricate scientific concepts to jurors of varied educational backgrounds.

As a Crime Laboratory Manager, I participated in writing the current state regulations governing forensic alcohol analysis, project and grant proposals, media responses, analytical methods, disciplinary hearing decisions, and comprehensive responses to queries from political leaders. As a professor, I taught crime scene reconstruction to master’s level students, and as an ambassador for the San Diego Police Department, have presented forensic topics in virtually every forum possible. I have a unique ability to excite others about science through my connectedness, sense of humor, and passion for my field.

Expert may consult nationally and internationally, and is also local to the following cities: San Diego, California - Los Angeles, California - Orange County, California

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Education

Year Degree Subject Institution
Year: 1993 Degree: MS Subject: Forensic Science Institution: National University
Year: 1989 Degree: BA Subject: Biology Institution: UCSD, Revelle

Work History

Years Employer Title Department Responsibilities
Years: 2011 to Present Employer: Undisclosed Title: Crime Laboratory Manager Department: Police Department Responsibilities: • As a Commanding Officer for the San Diego Police Department, responsible for managing the operation of the Crime Laboratory which includes supervising nine direct reports and overseeing 80 people in the laboratory
• Accountable for all areas of forensics: DNA, Chemistry, Forensic Technology, Latent Prints, Firearms, Trace Evidence, Crime Scene Processing, Crime Scene Reconstruction, Questioned Documents, Polygraph, and the Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory task force members
• Represent the Department publicly in high-stress situations that requires poise and political savvy to navigate
• Write and manage grants which have resulted in a technically advanced DNA Unit that is one of a few in the country able to provide this superior level of service to investigators
• Direct laboratory policy and provide the vision for the advancement of technology and customer service, while ensuring the laboratory helps set policy on a local, state, and national level
Years: 2014 to 2017 Employer: National University Title: Core Adjunct Professor Department: Forensic Science Responsibilities: • Developed curriculum and taught a Master’s Level course on Crime Scene Investigation as part of the Forensic Science Program
• Responsible for teaching students the elements of crime scene investigation and reconstruction, with an emphasis on blood stain pattern interpretation and trajectory reconstruction
Years: 2005 to 2011 Employer: City of San Diego Title: Supervising Criminalist Department: Police Department Responsibilities: • Responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Forensic Chemistry Unit: structuring workflow, reviewing reports, setting policy, providing technical advice, and issuing performance evaluations
• Crime Scene Reconstruction Team: reviewing crime scene reports, attending scenes as a trainer, providing technical expertise and testimony, setting schedules, and responding to reconstruction requests
• Responsible for reconstructing older crime scenes from photographs and presenting that reconstruction in court as an expert
Years: 1993 to 2005 Employer: City of San Diego Title: Criminalist Department: Police Deparment Responsibilities: • Responsible for the analysis of trace evidence for comparison purposes
• Areas of expertise included: hair and fiber analysis, the examination and comparison of impression evidence, arson and low explosive analysis, forensic unknowns, and paint examination
• Analytical procedures required knowledge in the areas of microscopy, infrared spectroscopy, chromatography, mass spectrometry, and wet chemistry
• Other duties required proficiency testing, generation of written reports, and presentation of expert testimony in court
• Criminalist-On-Call Program: utilized expertise in the areas of crime scene reconstruction, blood spatter interpretation, bullet trajectory determination, and specialized evidence collection and documentation techniques to reconstruct how the crime occurred
• Conducted Forensic Alcohol Analysis
• Managed the Forensic Toxicology Department
• Responsible for analyzing unknown suspected narcotics for the presence of controlled substances

Career Accomplishments

Associations / Societies
Major City Chief's Association, Forensic Science Committee
ASCLD/LAB
California Association of Crime Laboratory Directors
Licenses / Certifications
Public Manager Certification, 2018
Awards / Recognition
San Diego Police Foundation’s Women in Blue Award for being a trailblazer in a nontraditional law enforcement career

Additional Experience

Expert Witness Experience
Testified in over 200 trails to include: Alcohol Analysis, Toxicology, Trace Evidence, and Crime Scene Reconstruction
Other Relevant Experience
• Oversaw the International Accreditation of the Crime Laboratory in 2014 and the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) management-centered accreditation in 2019. Achievements ensure the laboratory is providing the highest quality of work utilizing best practices.
• Envisioned and implemented the creation of a Forensic Technology Unit, a section that is now accredited and responsible for assisting in hundreds of mobile device analyses. This novel approach provides highly technical analytical services with in-house experts to assist in immediate crime solving efforts.
• Commissioned and oversaw the successful completion of research resulting in groundbreaking work in DNA analysis on fired cartridge cases. This research resulted in two scientific publications and has been presented several times across the country in forensic forums. The San Diego Police Department laboratory is one of only a handful in the nation capable of this type of analysis. Analyses are solving homicide cases that were previously unsolvable and assist the San Diego Police Department in achieving one of the highest homicide clearance rates in the country.
• Envisioned and implemented a new system to track sexual assault kits in the San Diego Police Department Property Room and oversaw the project that resulted in all kits being counted, entered into the database, and assessed for testing status. This foresight allowed us to meet new state regulations with no additional funding.
• Led implementation of a proactive system of fingerprint analyses that tripled both case output and latent print hits, as well as significant customer service improvements that helped solve property crimes quickly and assisted in solving several cold case homicides.
• Envisioned and oversaw the remodel of laboratory space to include the new Forensic Technology Section, a more cohesive administrative unit, a new space for the Narcotics Vault, a modern facility to accommodate additional personnel, and a streamlined analytical footprint in the Forensic Biology Section which resulted in a cost reduction for the City along with a notable increase in productivity for the unit.
• Lectured in three states, Mexico and England, and have presented locally in virtually every forum available.
• Recognized forensic expert who was called upon over 200 times to provide testimony in important criminal trials in municipal, superior, and federal court.
• As part of the Forensic Alcohol Review committee, co-authored Title 17, the California State law that governs forensic alcohol testing.

Fields of Expertise

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