FDLE lauds women and girls in science

For Immediate Release
February 11, 2023
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) celebrates International Day of Women and Girls in Science by spotlighting the contributions made by FDLE’s forensic scientists.
FDLE’s forensic scientists are trail blazers, and many have earned top honors for their outstanding achievements.
FDLE Crime Laboratory Analyst Supervisor Theresa Adams was elected 2022-2026 President of the Property and Evidence Association of Florida, Inc. (P.E.A.F.). Adams previously served as the Vice President.  P.E.A.F. is comprised of evidence custodians, property officers, crime scene and lab technicians, supervisors, managers and directors from state and local law enforcement agencies and clerks of court. The association promotes education and professionalism of the property and evidence function within the state.
FDLE Crime Laboratory Analyst Amanda Stratton received the Daniel E. Watts Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer Awards’ Meritorious Service Award from the Fourth Judicial Circuit for her diligent efforts in a 2018 Nassau County homicide investigation. Stratton was instrumental in processing evidence and testifying at trial, where the defendant was ultimately convicted of murder.
FDLE Forensic Technologist Jennifer Spatola earned the agency’s Distinguished Support Member of the Year award for her significant contributions during the 2021 calendar year. Spatola conducted extensive research on a new chemical called Nile Blue for the development of latent prints. Nile Blue is high quality, less expensive than the then-current method, and easy to use.  Nile Blue has since been validated for use in the friction ridge section, and Spatola was instrumental in providing the necessary information for the validation process.
FDLE Senior Crime Laboratory Analyst Corey Crumbley was awarded the 2022 FDLE Forensic Scientist of the Year award. Crumbley is an expert in the area of Biology and DNA, a CODIS Administrator, Principal Instructor for Crime Lab Analyst trainees, and serves on training committees beyond her region. Crumbly provides support to the Genetic Genealogy Investigations Program, is an external and internal DNA auditor, and serves as a BioLIMS beta tester and trainer. In 2021, she also worked on a project to evaluate old cases with new technology.
In addition to the women who were individually recognized for their achievements, FDLE Crime Laboratory Analysts Rachel Aponte, Molly Carter, Maria Hiott, Victoria Kipker and Jennifer Eatmon, along with Senior Crime Laboratory Analyst Michelle Mullins, Assistant Quality Manager Jillian White, and Database Administrator Xujing Sun were part of the team working to implement a Biology Laboratory Information Management System (BIO-LIMS) module to move the DNA sections to a paperless workflow and earned the 2022 Innovation of the Year agency award. The diverse team brought together distinct regional needs into an adaptable, innovative product that will improve consistency, minimize errors, reduce the physical paper footprint, and simplify statewide quality review processes that will leave a long-lasting positive impact to FDLE’s service in the field of forensic Biology and DNA.
FDLE Crime Laboratory Analysts Jennifer Lewis and Lauren Huene, and Crime Laboratory Analyst Supervisor LeAndra Higginbotham were part of the Toxicology team that received the 2022 Contribution to Criminal Justice agency award. In November 2021, the toxicology discipline began using a new drug screening procedure that has greatly improved both turnaround times and sensitivity of targeted analytes. This was a culmination of a multi-year validation project, and since the new screening procedure went online, backlogged cases were reduced by almost 50% and turnaround times by 22-25%. Their efforts have strengthened the scope of testing within the toxicology discipline and offer the criminal justice community an increased level of service. 
For Further Information Contact:
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Priorities

FDLE is composed of five areas: Executive Direction and Business Support, Criminal Investigations and Forensic Science, Criminal Justice Information, Criminal Justice Professionalism and Florida Capitol Police. FDLE’s duties, responsibilities and procedures are mandated through Chapter 943, FS, and Chapter 11, FAC. To learn more about these areas, read our Statement of Agency Organization and Operation or visit our Open Government page.