I cannot express how honored I am to serve as President of this great organization. I will never forget the first few conferences I attended and how welcoming and kind the members have always been to me. I would not be here writing this if it weren’t for the incredible and inspirational people that we have working with us. For those of you that never met Charles (Charlie) Parker, I encourage you to seek out any stories you can about him. I will always remember going through fingerprint/10-print training with my awesome trainer Louis Rocha, who introduced me to Charlie. That experience inspired me to begin my journey of learning as much as I can about all things friction ridge. I still have my first fingerprint brush that Charlie and Sandy Siegel gave me when I was first starting out.
Pete Salicco has also been in my thoughts this past year. It was strange to be at a conference and not see my friend. He made so many contributions to our field…I absolutely love my fingerprint brushes and comparison stand. I miss playing guitar with him and his positive attitude. You will be forever missed brother.
I was giving a presentation recently at a college and the students prepared some questions for me to answer. One of them made me chuckle a little- they asked what would happen if I made a mistake? We had a great discussion- it’s not “if” you make a mistake, it’s “when”. We all make mistakes, minor and major- it’s how we deal with them. I am grateful to work in an environment where we are expected to handle mistakes with grace and humility and to take ownership of what occurred. Only then can one move forward and share what was learned from that experience to try to avoid a similar situation in the future.
I love interacting with people that are interested in this field and people that are just starting out. They tend to think about things in a broader sense and can be extremely helpful. I love the mantra that we can learn something from anyone. I wish I could remember who said this, but it really resonated with me- when we “know” something, we cease gathering new information on the subject. I like to think that I am open minded. I do not want to get stuck with what I “know” now. There has been an incredible amount of growth in forensics over the past decade, and I expect that to continue. It will take all of our collective thoughts- from those of you just starting in forensics, to those of you that have been with us for decades to move forward. We must remain open minded to continue moving forensics into the future. I would encourage you all to keep up with OSAC updates and documents for comment. Make your voice heard.
Going back to those that inspired me in the beginning, I would encourage all of you to remember that you can also be that person for someone else. You can change someone’s trajectory and share your knowledge. It can even be a small gesture- someone asked me what “award” I was most proud of. Easy- there is a post-it hanging on my cubicle wall from Bryan Strong (one of my main latent print mentors in training and to this day). It says, “Jack, Nice Hit on the side of the finger, Bryan”. To have someone you have the utmost respect for take the time to jot down a note like that means the world to me.
So THANK YOU to all of you for what you do, the State of Texas is eternally grateful for your dedicated work, all the nights, weekends, holidays, and time away from your families. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you at our next conference in San Antonio! Please let me or any of our officers/board members know if you need anything or if you have any suggestions for the conference.
President, Texas Division of the IAI
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