This "Just Science" podcast is an interview with Ben Swanholm, the Forensic Science Section Supervisor at the Phoenix Police Department Laboratory Services Bureau, regarding his leadership style.
The interview first reviews Swanhom's background in the forensic science field and developments in the Phoenix forensic science work since he began working there. Operating procedures in the Phoenix forensic lab are described, with attention to matching resources with the demands of evidence processing and interacting with the Phoenix Police Department's investigative personnel. Efficiency concepts and practices are discussed for various types of evidence processing, so that turn-around time for evidence analysis is minimized without sacrificing quality results. The prioritizing of cases is also discussed. The case database systems are structured so that the lab can identify the relative priority of the cases that come into the lab. Swanholm discusses the literature resources that have had the most influence on his lab management concepts and practices. Training for lab personnel in the management of their particular job tasks is also emphasized, so that efficiency and effectiveness are maximized for workers performing each laboratory task. The importance of participating in the ASCLD (American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors) Leadership Academy is emphasized. Swanholm notes that forensic scientists are knowledgeable and skilled in their analysis of evidence, but generally lack an understanding of management principles related to the efficiency and effectiveness of lab operations. Some of the topics in the Academy's curriculum are mentioned.