2017 SAFE Conference

2017 SAFE Annual Conference

The 2017 SAFE annual Conference is being held online. This format has several advantages over an in-person conference. Attendance at the conference is valuable for earning points to obtain or retain your CFDE™ Certification.

  1. No travel expense
  2. Lower attendance costs
  3. Speakers are located in many locations and they do not need to travel to a conference location
  4. Members in many time zones can attend at their convenience
  5. Presentations are recorded when speakers give their permission. This allows future viewing.

Dates: August 4, 2017 and August 25, 2017 (North America and Europe)
09:00 – 16:30 Pacific Daylight time
12:00 – 19:30 Eastern Daylight Time
17:00 – 01:30 BST
02:00 – 09:30 AEST – August 5 and 26

August 4 session – $95

August 4 and August 25 – $180

August 4 SAFE Conference Speakers

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m

Anne Smith – Innovative, Easy Software and Time-saving Techniques for Forensic Document Examinations

Abstract – Actual case examples will show attendees unique software applications and other methods to save time from the initial scanning phase through the electronic submission of reports phase. Many applications and methods are both PC and MAC compatible. Techniques include:

-Producing superior quality images from scanners with dynamic range.
-Naming conventions for files when scanning documents and signatures.
-Naming conventions for scanned files cropped in Photoshop.

-Using a bulk rename utility to shorten file names.
-Creating editable, basic chain of custody list and/or return of documents form in seconds.

-Measuring and logging data with screen measurement software with an on-screen caliper, protractor and compass.
-Minimizing the file size of reports and exhibits to transmit electronically with image and PDF compression software.
-Using Print Screen for report and PowerPoint Presentation illustrations vs not using Print Screen  for report and PowerPoint Presentations.

-Including portrait and landscape slide orientations in the same PowerPoint Presentation.
-Using MS Excel Data Text to Columns.

-Ensuring you practice the Scientific Method.

Other Software for You to Investigate:
-Screen Recording.
-Capturing screenshots to explain software, PC applications, websites and products with animated demos and tutorials.
-e-Learning Impulse-Using an intelligent capturing technique for single screenshots that can then be edited as slides.

Bio – While working towards a MS degree at Virginia Tech, Anne Smith’s research found there would be 74 million (!!!) Baby-Boomers and others aged >65 in the United States by 2030. Years later, when Anne first learned about the forensic document examiner profession, she knew this would be her second career choice, since it met her goal of finding a profession that would benefit Baby-Boomers. She presumed correctly that most forensic document examination cases would involve wills and related estate matters.Today, having been in private practice for over 10 years, Anne continues to be fascinated with this profession and is a court-qualified, proficiency-tested forensic document examiner.Anne is an active member of the National Association of Document Examiners (NADE). She has served on the NADE Journal Editorial Board, chaired the 2013 NADE Conference and been a presenter at several NADE conferences. She keeps current in the field of forensic document examination by attending NADE and other professional forensic document examination educational sessions and workshops.


10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Sharon Nakich – Forensic Science Standards and OSAC—a Recent History

Abstract – Standards development in the forensic science industry was previously executed through Scientific Working Groups (SWGs) that focused on specific forensic science disciplines like questioned documents or firearms analysis. These SWGs published their documents on their websites or through a standards developing organization (SDO) and were funded by various components of the United States Department of Justice. During 2014, funding for many of these SWGs was no longer available and the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) was being developed to further standards development in specific forensic science disciplines. The OSAC is now operational, and has submitted over 25 documents or document concepts to SDOs for the formal development of documentary standards, and is also promoting standards on the OSAC Registry. This briefing will provide details on the status of the OSAC Program, a snapshot of the relevant standards and guidelines in the queue (including from the Forensic Document Examination Subcommittee), and mechanisms on how all stakeholders can participate.

Bio – Sharon Nakich, PMP, BA is a project manager at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), supporting the Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science (OSAC) program. The OSAC is composed of 34 operating units populated by over 560 members and over 250 affiliates. It provides the national infrastructure for identifying, generating and adopting technically sound forensic science standards and guidelines for the forensic industry. Sharon received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, and has more than 15 years of experience in project management.




1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

George Reis – Image Authentication of Digital Photographs and Scanned Images

Abstract – Digital cameras and flatbed scanners have been a part of our lives for over two decades. Adobe Photoshop was introduced in 1990, and since then hundreds of imaging editing software applications have become available.

The phrase, “Was it Photoshopped” is used commonly about photographs ranging from celebrity photos to those illustrating newsworthy events, etc.

Image authentication refers to the science of determining if an image represents what it purports to be, or if it has been altered. This presentation will cover several methods for the analysis of digital photographs and scanned documents for authentication. Several software applications will be shown, as well as some discussion of the underlying science of image authentication. This will include the determination of whether the image is a camera original, an analysis of the file structure, software tools to assist in an analysis of the image content, and a visual examination of the content.

Bio – George Reis is owner of Imaging Forensics in Orange County, CA and has provided services in forensic photography, photographic analysis, and video analysis since 2004. Prior to this he worked for the Newport Beach Police Department for 15 years. He has testified more than 50 times in depositions, state, federal, and military courts as an expert in photography, photographic analysis, and video analysis. He is also certified in those fields by the International Association for Identification (IAI) and the Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Video Association (LEVA).

2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Mike Wakshull – Examination of Electronic Documents for Document Examiners


The days of examining documents by methods described by Osborn are gone. Well, maybe not completely gone. Yet as document examiners we receive documents in a form never conceived by Osborn, Harrison, Hilton, and others. We often receive documents in electronic form. These documents may have been created by a digital microscope, word processing software, a digital scanner, the photocopy machine, or other means.

As document examiners, we must keep up with technology to examine all types of documents. This presentation focuses on examination of electronic documents including e-mail, PDF, JPEG, TIFF, Microsoft Word®, digital camera images, and others. Methods of determining a whether document has been electronically altered are presented.


Mike Wakshull is a forensic document examiner based in Temecula, CA. In 1985 he founded Procyon Computer Systems, Inc. which developed and sold computer graphics software products in North America and Europe. He managed information systems governance at Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology company. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, master’s degree in technology management, and a graduate school certificate in forensic document examination. Mike applies his background in science, information technology and mathematics to his forensic document examination work.  This offers his clients a unique approach to their cases.

3:30 p.m. – 4:40 p.m.

Dr. Carolyne Bird – The Modular Forensic Handwriting Method

Abstract – Documentation of Forensic Handwriting Comparison and Identification Method: A Modular Approach, edited by Bryan Found and Doug Rogers, was published in 1999, in the Journal of Forensic Document Examination. This innovative approach to documenting the handwriting examination method as a modular flow diagram was driven by Dr Bryan Found and developed through collaborative work between the Document Examination Specialist Advisory Group (DocSAG; with representatives from Australian and New Zealand government forensic science laboratories) and researchers at La Trobe University, and through a number of National Institute of Forensic Science-sponsored workshops.As a dynamic document reflecting standard operating procedures and reporting approaches that DocSAG document examiners adhere to, the method has been regularly updated based on new research findings and the evolving state of forensic science in general. In the years since the first publication, updates have included adjusting the initial stages of the examination and examination order to reduce the potential for cognitive bias, and expanding on the issues around providing opinions on simulation versus disguised writing, however, the most significant changes have been to the reporting terminology. This has been a stepwise process away from opinions of identification/certainty, with the most recent version outlining a likelihood ratio approach to evidence interpretation and reporting.This presentation will provide a brief overview of the current version of the method (Found, B. & Bird, C. (2016). The modular forensic handwriting method. Journal of Forensic Document Examination, 26: 7-83.) with a particular focus on disguised and simulated writings, and evidence evaluation and reporting procedures.

Bio -Dr. Carolyne Bird has been employed by Forensic Science SA (FSSA) in Adelaide, Australia since 2002, where she is a Senior Forensic Scientist and the Team Leader of the Document Examination Section.  She has a Doctor of Philosophy in Human Bioscience from La Trobe University, Melbourne, where her research was focused on investigating forensic handwriting examiners’ skill in detecting unnatural handwriting processes. She also holds a Bachelor of Science (Honors) from the Flinders University of South Australia.At FSSA, Carolyne is responsible for the provision of forensic document examinations including handwriting and signature examinations, and analysis of indented impressions, print process, ink, and additions/alterations to documents.Carolyne is or has been involved in a number of working groups and committees, including:

  • NIST Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Handwriting Examination
  • ANZPAA Education and Training Guidelines for Forensic Document Examination working group
  • Scientific Working Group for Forensic Document Examination (SWGDOC)
  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime development of a best practice manual and training program for forensic document examination, expert working group
  • NATA Forensic Science Accreditation Advisory Committee (Document Examination Representative)

She is corresponding editor of the updated Modular Method for handwriting comparisons, published in the Journal of Forensic Document Examination in 2016 (co-edited with Dr Found).

August 4 session