Flashback: First Committee on Forensic Hair Comparison in the U.S.

In a recent article on the role of microscopical hair examinations in current forensic science practice,¹ author Jim Robertson includes a photograph (page 244) taken in the small auditorium in the basement of the FBI Academy at Quantico in May of 1983. This image shows what became the first committee on forensic hair comparison in the U.S. The names of most of the individuals in the photo are not mentioned in the article, but we thought they might be of interest to those curious about the historical aspects of forensic science. They are (with their affiliations at the time):

First row (bottom) left to right:  Russell Stockdale (Forensic Science Service, England), James Robertson (Univeristy of Strathclyde, Scotland), Barry Gaudette (RCMP), and Hal Deadman (FBI).

Second row (middle) left to right:  Chesterene Cwiklik (Washington State Police), Steve Schafer (California Department of Justice), Jim Bailey (Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office laboratory), Skip Palenik (Walter McCrone), and John Kilbourn (Alabama Division of Forensic Sciences).

Third row (top) left to right:  Norm Erickson (Centre of Forensic Sciences, Toronto), Dick Bisbing (Michigan State Police), Ed Burwitz (FBI), and unidentified three men to the right of Burwitz.

1. Robinson, James. “Managing the forensic examination of human hairs in contemporary forensic practice,” Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, 2017, 49:3, 239-260.

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