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Can we all get along? Bridging the divide between forensic anthropologists, forensic archaeologists, and law enforcement personnel

Author(s): Craig Goralski ; Alexis Gray

Year: 2016

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Summary

Despite being stakeholders with many shared goals, the working relationships between forensic anthropologists, forensic archaeologists, and their colleagues in law enforcement are often strained. The authors argue that cultural differences among the groups have contributed to the underuse and misuse of forensic anthropologists and archaeologists both in the United States and elsewhere, resulting in investigations that are neither as anthropological nor as scientific as juries and the public are led to believe.

In the Fall and Winter of 2015, an anonymous online survey was given to forensic anthropologists, forensic archaeologists and law enforcement personnel. Respondents were asked to assess levels of anthropologist/archaeologist/law enforcement cooperation based on their own personal experience and asked to identify common ways that disparate backgrounds, training, culture, and communication have impacted this cooperation. They were asked how each stakeholder group contributed to forensic cases and whether that contribution was adequate, appropriate and effective.

This paper will summarize the survey responses and highlight trends in the data. It will assess why and to what extent strain exists among forensic anthropologists, forensic archaeologists, and law enforcement personnel. Finally, we’ll discuss the extent to which these issues can be resolved and suggest directions for the future.


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Can we all get along? Bridging the divide between forensic anthropologists, forensic archaeologists, and law enforcement personnel. Craig Goralski, Alexis Gray. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 402975)


Keywords


Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America