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Justice Resource Update, NCJRS: Connecting You to Justice InformationOJP SealJustice Resource Update, NCJRS: Connecting You to Justice Information
Fall 2006
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The role of crime-scene personnel when responding to scenes of mass disaster

An exclusive interview with John S. Morgan, Ph.D., Assistant Director for Science and Technology at the National Institute of Justice, published in Evidence Technology Magazine 4(1), January-February 2006.
In this interview, Dr. Morgan explains that part of NIJ's work involves improving the response of State and local law enforcement to mass-casualty situations. In June 2005, NIJ completed Mass Fatality Incidents, a guide that identifies resources and policies that are critical for law enforcement planning. The publication is a compilation of important considerations that are needed to plan for a response to a mass-fatality incident. Dr. Morgan states that every law enforcement agency needs to develop a mass-disaster response plan and needs to determine the extent of agency resources that can be brought to bear on a mass disaster in their jurisdiction. An agency's plan should reflect other State, regional, and local plans and it should be carefully rehearsed to determine its sufficiency and to ensure that those involved are fully aware of their respective roles. He believes that one of the most important aspects of a plan is communication—during an incident, there must be proper communication within the local government so that all aspects of the plan are clear and all responsibilities are well delineated. Communication is also important in terms of building relationships with other local agencies.

Lessons learned from September 11

Lessons Learned From 9/11: DNA Identification in Mass Fatality Incidents cover page

On the fifth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, NIJ released Lessons Learned From 9/11: DNA Identification in Mass Fatality Incidents. Prepared by a panel of the Nation's top forensic scientists who advised on the identification of World Trade Center victims through DNA analysis, the report reviews 9/11 experiences and offers guidance to laboratory directors on how to respond to future mass fatality events. The report can be downloaded at, or copies can be ordered at


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