The truth about forensic science
When the Dogs Dont Bark: A Forensic Scientist’s Search for the Truth by Angela GallopI received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
When the Dogs Don’t Bark follows forensic scientist Angela Gallop as she discusses her 40 year career within the profession. What follows is an outline of a number of her most memorable cases interspersed with the history and development of forensic sciences within the UK and it’s importance in the conviction, and defense, of individuals accused of a variety of crimes.
What immediately comes across while reading this is just how complicated and varied forensic science is. Far from standing in ditches collecting evidence from a crime scene, forensic scientists are wide reaching and branch into different specialties, from chemical, entomology, and one of the fastest growing - digital forensics. Often they must possess a thought process a little ‘outside the box’ too by taking the extra step of recreating scenarios in labs to determine the most probably outcome and unlock the truth about what happened at the crime scene. Two instances that stand out are when she mentions recreating the action of pushing a mop around a kitchen floor to exonerate a man accused of murder, and shooting a suspended pig carcass with a shotgun to discover where a specific shot went.
Other than a few glimmers of interesting cases and scenarios, this was a rather dry book to get through unfortunately. A lot of time is spent describing the different kinds of forensic scientists there are, and the various techniques which are used. It’s very science based, and talks in great detail about methodologies. There’s also a lot of detail regarding Gallop’s professional career and various businesses, however I found this could have been condensed, as it really took away from the more interesting cases. I think the book was approached very much like a scientific report, using cases to back up Gallop’s explanations of various techniques instead of letting the cases speak for themselves. It feels almost clinical at times, and there’s just no heart to the stories. A lot of the cases she mentions, she states she doesn’t know the outcome, and this got very frustrating at times as it came across as feeling unfinished and a little emotionless. Perhaps some more of her own personal background may have helped here, as we learnt a lot about her professional life but hardly anything personal.
I do find the synopsis a little misleading, as there’s no real depth to any of the memorable cases, sometimes they consisting of only a few paragraphs, and they are rather few and far between. The bulk of the book is centred around Gallop’s career and her explanations of what forensic scientists do. In this regard it’s meticulous in its presentation, but it wasn’t what I was expecting at all.
Interesting if you want to expand your knowledge of what forensic science is, but don’t go into it expecting lots of true crime stories or cases.
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The word "superpower" made an entry into India's political lexicon about a decade ago. That was when political leaders talked of building cities that would be as swanky as Shanghai and double-digit growth became a catchphrase. India would compete with the first world and nothing less would. Truth Labs was established with the sole objective of helping the victims of Crime and Injustice by providing Scientific Investigation and Detective services using modern Forensic tools and techniques at affordable costs with International Quality. Truth Labs is a subsidiary of Truth Foundation, a non profit, non government, public charitable society set up with the sole aim of reviving the age old tradition of Truth and Justice in the Indian society.
As an experienced Crime Scene Investigator, she has been involved in investigating a range of cases from theft and sexual assault to murder. How did you get into it? I studied a degree in Forensic Science and went on from there. Tell us a bit about the role of a Crime Scene Investigator The role of a Crime Scene Investigator is to attend crime scenes to methodically search for and record evidence to help solve a crime. This evidence may include fingerprints, DNA, footwear marks, fibres or tool marks amongst other types. They then go on to process this evidence and send it to the relevant departments for further examination.
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Jessica S. Henry does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Yet, as forensic scandal after forensic scandal sweeps the nation, a competing truth has emerged. Forensic science is only as reliable as the people performing the tests. This means forensic science is vulnerable to distortions caused by corruption or misconduct. The latest forensic scandal based on misconduct erupted in New Jersey in December in the context of drunk driving cases.
G lamorized in books, movies, television, and recently in the news media, forensic science has gathered a popular following. Making forensic science interesting and appealing to a large audience is easy to do because the work is just that--interesting and appealing. The fictional forensic scientist collects evidence at crime scenes, analyzes it in a high-tech lab, and draws on objective science to reconstruct the details of the crime. It is a very satisfying story. Science uncovers lies and reveals the truth.
News Juries, however, have come to expect that they do. This may seem like a minor problem. It is not minor. In reality, as opposed to TV, crime scene investigators and crime labs are overworked and under-funded. Help us advocate for the innocent by sharing the latest news from the Innocence Project.