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Press Release

Department of Justice and the National Institute of Standards and Technology Name Two Experts as New Members of National Commission on Forensic Science

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today announced the appointment of Rebecca J. Ferrell, Ph.D. and Sgt. Troy Lawrence to the National Commission on Forensic Science. 

The commission, created in 2013, develops forward-looking policy recommendations for the Attorney General to enhance the practice and improve the reliability of forensic science.

The commission is co-chaired by Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates and Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Dr. Willie E. May.  Deputy Assistant Administrator Nelson Santos of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Office of Forensic Sciences and Special Assistant to the NIST Director for Forensic Science John M. Butler serve as vice-chairs.

“The commission has been diligently developing important recommendations to strengthen forensic science in this country.  These two new members will ensure that the commission continues to benefit from a wide range of perspectives, including those from the scientific community and from state and local law enforcement,” said Deputy Attorney General Yates.  “Dr. Ferrell and Sgt. Lawrence are eminently qualified to continue the good work of the commission.”

“Since its inception, the Commission has benefitted from the contributions of some of America's most prominent scientists and forensic practitioners,” said Under Secretary May. “I have no doubt that our newest commissioners will continue this proud tradition as we work together to strengthen the science that underpins the forensic evidence used in the U.S. judicial system.”

Dr. Ferrell is the Program Director for the Biological Anthropology Program at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia.  She is replacing outgoing Commissioner Mark Weiss who recently retired from the National Science Foundation.  Sgt. Lawrence is the Director of the Digital Forensic Lab for the Fort Worth Police Department.  He is replacing Bill Crane, who will be relocating to a new position overseas.

The commission includes federal, state and local forensic science service providers; research scientists and academics; law enforcement officials; prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges; and other stakeholders from across the country.  This breadth of experience and expertise reflects the many different entities that contribute to forensic science practice in the United States and will ensure that these broad perspectives are represented on the commission and in its work.

The commission was established in 2013 and re-chartered for another two-year period in April 2015.  The new members announced today are replacing individuals whose tenures with the commission recently ended. 

The commission’s next meeting will be held from June 20 to 21, at the Office of Justice Programs, 3rd Floor Main Conference Room, 810 7th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20531.  More information about the commission can be found at


Updated August 1, 2016

Office and Personnel Updates
Press Release Number: 16-692