Field Investigation Drug Officer (FIDO) Program
Technology Transition Workshop Curriculum

May 4 & 5, 2009
National Forensic Science Technology Center
Largo, Florida



Contact Information

Workshop Leaders

David Sylvester


Joan Ring


Karolyn L. Tontarski, MS

Workshop Instructors

Nancy Crump


Kirk Grates


Jay Henry


Greg Hill


Bill Murphy


Joan Ring

See Above


David Sylvester

See Above




Workshop Overview

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), in conjunction with the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC), is sponsoring a series of Technology Transition Workshops designed to help facilitate the transition of novel technologies and programs into practice by operational crime laboratories. Under the direction of the NIJ, the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Centers (NLECTC) and the Forensic Resource Network (FRN) formed a focus group consisting of representatives from the law enforcement, forensic science, corrections, legal, and judicial communities to facilitate the development and deployment of the Field Investigation Drug Officer (FIDO) Program. The purpose of this Technology Transition Workshop is to provide the student with the tools to initiate a FIDO Program in their own jurisdiction.

The efficiency of the entire criminal justice system is impacted by the overwhelming caseload of drug investigations. As a result, many cases fail to be prosecuted in a reasonable timeframe, or are dismissed due to a lack of timely sample analysis. Straightforward possession drug cases comprise a significant percentage of those investigations. Using the FIDO Program model, these types of cases may be handled at the investigative level. Specifically, the FIDO Program affords certified law enforcement officers the capability of providing a preliminary identification of the most commonly encountered drugs of abuse (marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin). Handling these types of cases at the investigative level has the potential to streamline the adjudication process, enable the reduction of backlogged investigations, and allow the efficient use of resources. The goal is to have the certified law enforcement officer provide immediate investigative information, removing the need for extensive laboratory analysis. This leads to facilitation of case adjudication in the preliminary phase, as the field test may factor into obtaining an immediate plea agreement. Cases proceeding to trial would be submitted for complete analysis at the laboratory.

The FIDO Program is based on the evaluation of an existing model, operated by the Phoenix Police Department, which has demonstrated a positive impact on the regional criminal justice system, with cost savings and increased efficiency at all levels. The program is comprised of a comprehensive training program, recommended practice guide, and quality assurance system that provides law enforcement personnel with the resources necessary to perform preliminary identification of marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin. The program was designed with sufficient flexibility to enable adaptation based on agency-specific needs and resources. An example of such an adaptation will be presented by the Utah Bureau of Forensic Services.

In addition, this workshop will provide instruction in the articulation of legal issues, guidelines for quality assurance, materials for development of training and certification programs, and guidelines for the selection, testing and evaluation of testing materials and emerging technologies. The minimum standards for FIDO programs, including program management issues, officer and trainer selection, recertification, and efficacy assessment will be presented, as well.

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of the Field Investigation Drug Officer (FIDO) Program workshop, the participants and their agencies will acquire the knowledge to:

  • Describe FIDO Program elements and its benefits
  • Explain the adaptability of the program to allow for the specific needs of each jurisdiction and the incorporation of future technologies
  • Articulate the legal issues associated with implementation of a FIDO Program
  • Navigate the Users Guide Document
  • Describe the field test kit components and applications, as well as the portable instrumentation
  • Develop a fully operational Field Investigation Drug Officer (FIDO) Program for their jurisdiction, inclusive of a corresponding quality assurance system and recertification process
  • Administer a Field Investigation Drug Officer training program that includes a program overview; safety guidelines; evidence control; information on each drug; kit and instrument use instructions; results interpretation; and report writing
  • Execute a documented practical training exercise during which trainees have the ability to test many different substances so they experience first-hand how substances react with the test kit reagents and with the instrumentation
  • Administer a written examination and practical assessment (comprised of testing, documentation, and reporting) for suspected samples that leads to certification of Field Investigation Drug Officers for their jurisdiction

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