8-23–14: The Changing World of Forensic Science: An Interview With Barry A.J. Fisher, past president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences
BIO: An internationally regarded forensic scientist and leader in his field, Barry A. J. Fisher retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s crime lab after a 40 year distinguished career, the last 20 as crime lab director. He was responsible for conceptualizing, planning and coordinating the new LASD/LAPD crime lab located at California State University named the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center and the creation of the California Forensic Scince Institute.
Barry received his B.S. degree in chemistry from CCNY, his M.S. degree in organic chemistry from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from California State University, Northridge. He is a past president of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, past chair of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors – Laboratory Accreditation Board, past president and distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences where he was awarded its highest honor, Gradwohl Medallion. He served as president of the International Association of Forensic Sciences and is a member of many other professional organizations including the IAI, CAC, TIAFT, CAT, and the IACP.
His current interests concern the interrelationship between forensic science and the law along with public policy issues concerning the timely delivery of quality forensic support services to the criminal justice system. He served as a member of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section’s Ad Hoc Committee to Ensure the Integrity of the Criminal.
He is a founding director and served on the Board of Directors of the National Forensic Science Technology Center from 1995 until 2007. Fisher is a member of several editorial boards: the Journal of Forensic Sciences, the Journal of Forensic Identification, Forensic Science Policy and Management and the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. Fisher is an alumni member of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents and a life member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and was a member of the IACP’s Forensics Committee.
His textbook, Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation, in its 8th edition, enjoys wide popularity. He is a co-author of two other books, Forensics Demystified and An Introduction to Criminalistics: The Foundation of Forensic Science.
Fisher lectures throughout the United States, and has spoken in Canada, England, Australia, Singapore, France, Israel, Japan, China, Turkey and Portugal on forensic science laboratory practices, quality assurance and related topics. In 2000, he led a forensic science delegation to lecture to forensic scientists in the People’s Republic of China. In 2012, he was invited again to China to lecture on forensic science developments in the United States.
Since retiring, Fisher has consulted for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United States Department of Justice, International Criminal Investigative Training Program (ICITAP) and Analytic Services Inc., a not-for-profit institute that provides studies and analyses to aid decision-makers in national security, homeland security, and public safety. He also consults on forensic science matters with Park Dietz and Associates.
Fisher, a native New Yorker, is married. He and his wife Susan reside in Indio in Riverside County, California. They have two married sons: David, a criminalist with the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner Forensic Biology Department, and Michael, an entrepreneur, and eight grandchildren.