Background, Functions and Purposes of the CIS Footwear Certification Board
The need to unequivocally identify footwear examiners qualified to provide essential professional services for the nation’s judicial branches of government have been long recognized. In response to this need and to a professional mandate, the CIS Footwear Certification Board was established by the Canadian Identification Society to provide, in the interest of the public and of the criminal justice system, a program of certification in footwear examination. In purpose, function and organization, the CIS Footwear Certification Board is thus analogous to the certifying boards of other specialties and scientific fields.
The objective of the Board is to establish, enhance, review and revise as necessary, standards of qualification for those who practice footwear examinations and to certify as qualified specialists those voluntary applicants who comply with the requirements of the Board. In this way, the Board aims to make available to the judicial system and to the public, a practical and equitable system for readily identifying those persons professing to be specialists in footwear examination and who possess the requisite qualifications and competence.
Certification is based upon the candidate’s personal and professional record of education and training, experience and achievement, as well as the results of a formal examination.
The Canadian Identification Society, under whose auspices the Footwear Certification Board was established, is a non-profit organization incorporated in Canada. The Footwear Certification Board is composed of members whose principal discipline includes the forensic examination of footwear impression evidence.
The Footwear Certification Board operates under the guidelines of the Canadian Identification Society.
Code of Ethics for Footwear Examiners
This code is intended as a guide to ethical conduct of Certified Footwear Examiners. It is not to be construed that these principles are immutable laws or that they are all-inclusive. Instead, they represent general standards, which each examiner should strive to meet. It is to be realized that each individual case may vary, just as does the information with which the examiner is concerned, and no set of guides or rules will precisely fit every occasion. At the same time the fundamentals set forth in this Code are to be regarded as indicating, to a considerable extent, the conduct requirements expected of members of the profession and this Society. A failure to meet or maintain certain of these standards will justifiably cast doubt upon an individual’s fitness for this type of work. Infractions of these principles may be regarded as inconsistent with certification as a Footwear Examiner.
It is the duty of practicing Footwear Examiners to serve the interests of justice to the best of their ability at all times. In fulfilling this duty, they will use all of the scientific and investigative techniques at their command to ascertain all of the significant facts relevant to the matters under investigation. Having made factual determinations, the examiners must then interpret and evaluate the findings. In this they will be guided by experience and knowledge, which coupled with a serious consideration of their analytical findings and application of sound judgment, may enable them to arrive at opinions and conclusions pertaining to the matters under study. These findings of fact and their conclusions and opinions should be reported with all the accuracy and skill of which the examiner is capable, to the end that all persons fully understand and be able to place the findings in their proper relationship to the problem at issue.
In carrying out these functions, the examiner will be guided by those practices and procedures, which are generally recognized within the profession to be consistent with a high level of professional ethics. The motives, methods and actions of the examiner shall at all times be above reproach, in good taste, and consistent with proper moral conduct.
A Certified Footwear Examiner, whose professional or personal conduct becomes adverse to the best interests and purposes of the profession, shall be liable to suspension or revocation of Certification as a Footwear Examiner.
Requirements for Certification
A. General Requirements
1 Must be a member in good standing of the Canadian Identification Society.
2 An applicant for certification must be of good moral character, high integrity, and good repute and must possess a high ethical and professional standing (Click here).
3 An applicant for certification must be primarily employed or working in the field of Forensic Science whose duties include the examination of footwear impression evidence.
B. Education and Experience Requirements
1 Must meet the minimal educational standards required for his/her employment.
2 One year of experience as a footwear examiner.
C. Training Requirements
1 Must have satisfactorily completed a minimum of 20 hours of training in the examination of footwear evidence to include, but not limited to, terminology, manufacturing processes for footwear, photography of track/mark evidence, enhancement, recovery and preservation of footwear evidence, comparative examinations, case note preparation and report writing, legal considerations and courtroom testimony.
1 All applications must be endorsed.a. If the applicant is employed by a public law enforcement agency, the endorsement shall be from a superior within the applicant’s department or agency, outlining his/her activities in the footwear discipline.
2 b. If the applicant is in private practice, the endorsement shall be from a former supervisor or professional colleague, outlining his/her activities in the footwear discipline.
1 Certification shall be determined by testing. The certification test was developed and is maintained by the CIS Footwear Certification Board. Applicants have two (2) hours to complete the written examination and thirty (30) days from receipt of certified mail to work and return the practical test. The Board maintains a list of study materials.a. The written test shall consist of 100 multiple choice and true/false questions including, but not limited to, terminology, manufacturing processes for footwear, photography of track/mark evidence, enhancement, recovery and preservation of footwear evidence. Passing score: 80%.
2 b. The practical test shall consist of the evaluation and comparison of a minimum of three (3) separate cases with no erroneous inclusions or exclusions. Notes, observations and all supporting data used to reach an opinion must be returned with the original test.
3 Anyone failing the written test must wait six (6) months from the rejection date to reapply.
4 Anyone failing the practical test due to an erroneous inclusion or exclusion must wait one (1) year to reapply.a. After failing any part of the exam cycle a second time, a candidate must wait for a period of 2 years from the date of failure, and must submit a new application with all the attachments.
5 Those reapplying must submit a new application with all attachments plus whatever fee may be in effect at that time.
6 Applicants failing any part of the test need retake only that part which he/she failed.
F. Administering the Examination
1 All test material for the written test, will be forwarded via Certified Mail. The test is to be administered during a two (2) hour time span. A proctor will be appointed by the Chair of the Board or designate. A proctor must be either a member of the CIS Footwear Certification Board or a CIS certified footwear examiner.
2 When completed, the applicant should place all test material back in the envelope and return it to the proctor administering the test.
3 The test will be returned (Certified mail - return receipt requested) to the Chairperson of the CIS Footwear Certification Board for grading.
4 If the applicant fails to achieve a passing grade on the written test, a letter will be sent to the applicant, with a copy to the President of the CIS, advising that the applicant failed the written portion of the test and as a result is not eligible for certification.
5 Upon a passing grade, the written exam will be destroyed. Upon a failing grade, the exam will be kept for 30 days until the appeal period has expired.
6 If the applicant achieves a passing grade on the written test, a letter will be forwarded from the Chairperson of the CIS Footwear Certification Board to the applicant, with a copy to the President of the CIS advising that he/she has achieved a passing grade on the written portion of the test.
7 The Chairperson of the Board or delegate will then forward the practical portion of the test to the applicant by certified mail (return receipt requested). The applicant will have thirty (30) days from date of receipt to work the practical test and return it to the Chairperson of the Footwear Certification Board (Certified Mail - return receipt requested).a. All test materials, notes, worksheets, supporting documentation and a report detailing the conclusions reached must be included.
8 A member of the CIS Footwear Certification Board will grade the practical test.a. If the applicant achieves a passing grade on the practical test, a letter will be forwarded from the Chairperson of the CIS Footwear Certification Board to the applicant, advising that he/she has achieved a passing grade on the practical test and will be certified as a Footwear Examiner
9 b. If the applicant fails the practical test, a second member of the CIS Footwear Certification Board will review and if concurs with findings, a letter will be forwarded from the Chairperson of the CIS Footwear Certification Board to the applicant, with a copy to the President of the CIS, advising that the applicant failed the practical portion of the test and as a result is not eligible for certification.
10 Upon failure of any portion of this certification process, any appeal made by the candidate must be forwarded by certified mail to the Board Chair within 30 days.
General Provisions Concerning Certification and the CIS Certification Board
A. Upon satisfactorily completing the test, the applicant is issued a certificate stating that the individual is a “Certified Footwear Examiner”.
1 Persons holding a valid, certificate of qualification issued by the CIS Footwear Certification Board are entitled to use the designation “Certified Footwear Examiner” in conformance with the standards of the CIS.
2 All successful applicants will have their name published in Identification Canada.
B. Certifications are issued for a period of five (5) years, subject to renewal within one year before the expiry date.
1 The CIS Footwear Certification Board will establish fees for original certification and renewal.
C. Certificates issued by the Canadian Identification Society are the property of the CIS; but every person to whom a certificate has been issued shall be entitled to its continued possession unless and until such certificate is revoked.
D. Membership in the CIS, is not mandatory for certification.
E. The right to deny certification is reserved by the CIS Footwear Certification Board.
F. A complete roster of Certified Footwear Examiners will be recorded and retained by the CIS executive director and the secretary of the CIS Footwear Certification Board.
G. Any CIS Certified Footwear Examiner interested in being considered for appointment to the CIS Footwear Certification Board shall submit a letter and resume to the Chairperson of the CIS Footwear Certification Board. The Board will consider these in making recommendations to the CIS President.
H. The Operations Manual will be reviewed and revised, annually.
1 All revisions must be submitted to the Board of Directors for approval before taking effect.
Certification - Grand fathering
A. All members of the footwear discipline are eligible to be grand fathered into the certification program, provided they apply within one year of the program’s implementation (within one year from the CIS conference in 2003), must have eight years experience in the footwear discipline and meet all of the above outlined requirements except they would not be required to take the written or practical exam. This certification would expire after four years, requiring the incumbent to reapply, and take the written and practical exam one year before the expiry date.
Procedures for Application
A. Application forms and instructions for their submission can be obtained from any member of the CIS Footwear Certification Board and/or CIS web site.
B. The completed application should be returned to the Chairperson of the CIS Footwear Certification Board, together with the application fee of $150.00 (subject to change), which is not refundable.
1 Only those persons who believe they clearly meet the stated qualifications and requirements for certification should submit applications.
2 The Executive Director of the CIS will retain all application documentation.
3 A list of applicants will be retained by the CIS Executive Director and by the secretary of the CIS Footwear Certification Board.
C. A recent 1” x 1”color photograph is to be attached to the application.
D. Qualifications, requirements, fees, and application procedures for certification are subject to revision by the CIS Footwear Certification Board. The latest official version is always obtainable from the chairperson of the CIS Footwear Certification Board or from the CIS web site.
A. The certification program calls for re-certification every five years. This is necessary to determine the activities of the examiner over the previous five years and provide for updating of records.
B. The applicant must resubmit an application 1 year before the expiry date in order to ensure continuous certification.
C. The application should be completed and returned in duplicate to the Chairperson of the CIS Certification Board together with a $150.00 (subject to change) re-certification fee.
D. Re-certification consists of conducting three (3) practical assignments.
1 The Chairperson of the CIS Footwear Certification Board or his/her delegate will record the re-certification application.
Suspension or Revocation of Certification
A. Certificates may be suspended or revoked by the CIS Footwear Certification Board for violation of the CIS or Footwear Certification Code of Ethics.
B. Guidelines for Handling Complaints:
1 Each complaint or allegation must be in writing and signed by the person making the complaint.
2 The complaint must refer to a specific incident or action on the part of the CIS Certified Footwear Examiner and be fully documented.
3 The complaint must be received by the Chairperson of the CIS Footwear Certification Board.
4 The Secretary of the CIS Footwear Certification Board will acknowledge the letter of complaint and will advise the Certified Footwear Examiner that a complaint has been received and the nature of the complaint. The advising letter affords the Certified Examiner an opportunity to furnish the CIS Footwear Certification Board with material and/or information that he/she may consider pertinent within 60 days.
5 On receipt of a written complaint or allegation, all documentation will be forwarded to the Chairperson of the Certification Board, who in turn will appoint three certified footwear examiners (non Board members), for investigation. The results of the investigation with recommendations from the Footwear Certification Board will be forwarded to the President and Board of Directors of the CIS for adjudication. Adjudication by the Board of Directors can include dismissal of the charges, suspension of certification or revocation of certification.a. Revocation of certification will be invoked upon the member being found guilty of a criminal offense in relation to his/her certification. Revocation is for life.
6 b. Suspension will be invoked on a member who is found guilty of any other infraction of the CIS and/or Footwear Certification code of ethics. Suspension is for one year.
7 Action to suspend or revoke may only be taken after at least 60 days following transmittal of notice of the charges or reasons for such action has been given to the individual concerned and an opportunity for such person to be heard has been provided by the CIS, as explained in the letter of notification.a. Letters revoking certification or pertaining to matters requiring a response from individuals against whom action has been taken will be forwarded by registered mail - return receipt requested.
C. Applicants who are denied certification by the CIS Footwear Certification Board may appeal such action to the CIS Board of Directors in writing within 60 days after the issue date of such notification.
D. Names of those individuals whose certification has been revoked will appear in Identification Canada.
E. The CIS Footwear Certification Board may entertain, subsequent to suspension, a new application for certification.
The Footwear Certification Board.
A. General Provisions:
1 The Certification Board shall consist of no more than six members for a term of five years, at the discretion of the Board Chair.a. After a member’s term on the Board expires, he/she may reapply only if he/she is currently a certified CIS footwear examiner.
2 The Board Chair will be appointed by the CIS President.
3 The Board Chair will appoint the remaining Board members.
4 The Board Chair will appoint a secretary from within the appointed members of the Footwear Certification Board.
B. Initial Procedures Leading to Testing:
1 Applications for certification that are received by the Chairperson of the CIS Footwear Certification Board, will be logged, assigned a number, and acknowledged to the applicant.a. The Chairperson of the CIS Footwear Certification Board will forward the original application to the Executive Director of the CIS for retention.
2 Upon receipt of an application for certification, the Chairperson of the Footwear Certification Board or designate will proceed as follows:a. Review application insuring that all necessary information is furnished.
3 b. Conduct necessary inquiries regarding qualifications of the applicant.
4 c. Set an exam date, place and proctor for testing, and advise the applicant. If an applicant, through circumstances beyond the applicant’s control cannot arrange to take the test as indicated, he/she should contact the Chairperson of the Footwear Certification Board immediately for an alternative testing date.
5 d. If the applicant is successful, a practical exam must be sent to the applicant within a reasonable period of time, and he/she will have 30 days to complete the tests and return them by Registered mail to the Chairperson of the Footwear Certification Board.
6 e. If unsuccessful, a letter advising the applicant will be forwarded from the Chairperson of the Footwear Certification Board.
List of recommended reading
1 Footwear Identification by Michael J. Cassidy
2 Footwear Impression Evidence 2nd Edition by William J. Bodziak
3 Footwear The Missed Evidence by Dwayne S. Hilderbrand
4 Footwear Evidence by John Reginald Abbott and A. C. German
6 a. Chesapeake Area Shoeprint and Tire Track
7 b. IAI SWGTREAD (International Association for Identification Scientific Working Group for Tire and Footwear)
8 c. ENFSI Expert Working Group Marks