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Just Science Podcast: Just Off the Shelf Forensics

NCJ Number
Tim Schade; Brian Cochran
Date Published
December 2020
1 page

In this final episode of the Case Studies season of the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) Just Science podcast series, Tim Schade and Brian Cochran are interviewed about their methods in searching for off-the-shelf crime-scene-processing products.


Background information for the interview notes that budgetary limitations often limit the ability of smaller forensic labs and law enforcement agencies to purchase expensive forensic tools. Tim Schade and Brian Cochran are experienced in finding budget-friendly solutions to crime-scene-processing problems. In this interview, they discuss their method of re-purposing existing materials, and searching for over-the-counter solutions under limited budgets. Tim Schade has been a training consultant with the University of Tennessee’s Law Enforcement Innovation Center since 2017 after 28 years of law enforcement crime-scene and forensic experience.  Brian Cochran is currently a detective with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, specializing in crime-scene investigation and evidence processing. Their discussion of the purchase and use of off-the-shelf products refers to items currently being sold in various types of stores and online, such as hardware stores, paint stores, or Amazon. The products are not specifically designed for law enforcement use in crime-scene investigation. Cochran and Shade provide examples of how they have used some off-the-shelf items and materials from various types of stores to facilitate the efficiency and effectiveness of some crime-scene task. One example of this practice is the use of certain cellphone types to perform 3D scanning of crime-scene areas.