National Forensic Science Week will be held September 20-26, 2020. Presenters and Award winners will be announced soon! 

 Rick Groff Visionary Leadership in Forensic Science Award:

The individuals named here are honored in recognition of outstanding and visionary leadership in forensic science at Idaho State Police Forensic Services (ISPFS). This award is given to an individual for implementation of a new initiative, completion of a major project, innovation, or exceptional leadership that benefits the laboratory system. The awardees are visionaries within the organization that push the laboratory system to new heights. Rick Groff was a visionary leader at ISPFS in many ways. Rick recognized the value of accreditation before many in the country recognized this revolutionary change in the forensic enterprise. Therefore, he led efforts in 1987 for initial accreditation of the laboratory system, and again in 2007 for the laboratory ISO 17025 accreditation. Idaho State Police Forensic Services was one of the first laboratory systems in the country to be accredited under the ISO 17025 program. Rick also promoted the certification of the criminalists in ISPFS to ensure their competence and professionalism. After meeting the standards and passing the written examination, he was among the first individuals from ISPFS certified by the American Board of Criminalistics on December 12, 2000. Idaho State Police was the first laboratory system to require certification of all analysts, and was the only laboratory system with this requirement for many years. Rick started with the lab when it was part of the Bureau of Laboratories in the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. He and his boss were the only analysts when he started with the forensic section of the health lab. He was promoted to the position of lab manager after about five years, and served in a leadership position for the rest of his 37-year career with the forensic laboratory. Rick also served as system director, assistant bureau chief, and quality manager. He played a lead role as the forensic laboratory grew from a two-person laboratory in the early 1970’s to the three labs and approximately 25 people that were employed in the forensic laboratories when he retired in 2006. He worked hard to obtain the resources needed for the laboratory during the transition from the Department of Health and Welfare to the Idaho State Police. Rick recognized the need for an association of forensic quality managers to educate, discuss, and interpret quality standards, and to help in the implementation of new standards. Rick organized a gathering of forensic quality managers in the summer of 2001 to discuss the formation of a forensic quality assurance association and was elected the first president of what came to be known as the Association of Forensic Quality Assurance Managers (AFQAM). He was also a charter member of the Northwest Association of Forensic Scientists. Rick always pushed for a vision of ISPFS as a highly respected and quality centered laboratory system.

 2018 Rick Groff Award Winner – Anne Nord:

Anne’s contributions toward vision at ISPFS was her work on developing the new toxicology methods at ISPFS and enormous improvements in the number and types of drugs that can be analyzed and confirmed while also adding quantitative toxicology.  Not only did she oversee the development of this method in CDA, but she helped to get it implemented in the Pocatello lab and train the three analysts there to use the method.  Anne has taken at least two courses in process mapping and lean six sigma and has facilitated several of these exercises, including currently working with the DNA section on implementation of a lean six sigma efficiency project.  In addition to her duties as a lab manager, she also has worked a full-time case analyst workload over the last several years due to illness or injury to her staff members.  She makes time on the ILIMS team and has worked on projects such as appropriate case allocation for the lab system, assigning lab system employees to professional organizations, and figuring the lab system instrument replacement schedule. 


2019 Rick Groff Award Winner – Corinna Owsley:

Corinna not only supervises 4 chemists in her own laboratory, but has assisted the chemistry Technical Leader with almost every major project for our section.  She also assists the Quality Manager with her duties as the deputy quality manager, and often fills in for the lab manager when she is away.  Outside of her outstanding work and work ethic for ISPFS, she served six years on the NWAFS board and is currently serving on the CLIC board, which is an international association.  Corinna has always done anything in her power to keep the lab system running, looking to the future, and effective.  She is one of our top case producers, she testifies for us in front of the legislature, she is a fantastic trainer and has trained many of our current staff.  Corinna is the best leader I have the pleasure of knowing.

Presenters in 2018

  • John Butler (NIST)

  • Debbie Smith (Joyful Heart Foundation) 

Presenter in 2019

  • Kent Burggraaf (Utah Attorney General’s Office)

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