This October, the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science (STAFS) Facility hosted a special training for crime scene investigation and analysis. The training was open to any forensic scientist or student who wanted to attend, but was primarily geared toward law enforcement, who were able to receive TCLEOSE credit. For those who had already met their work requirements, the training also fulfilled the education requirement to sit for certification in the International Association for Identification, the world's oldest and largest forensic science association.
The training is divided into three-week sections. In the first week, the "Foundation Program," trainees learned the basics of handling a crime scene--how to recognize evidence, how to collect it, and how to preserve it. Week two is an "Intermediate Program" that covers pattern evidence detection, collection, and preservation, such as footwear, tire, and tool-mark impressions. In week three, the "Advanced Program," trainees are exposed to forensic anthropology, entomology, forensic archaeology, and medico-legal death investigation.
"We've been developing this program for over a year," said Dr. Joan Bytheway, director of the STAFS Facility. "The instructors we have brought together have a lot of experience and information to disclose. And since they're working in the field, they can relate to trainees who are in law enforcement."
Trainees who completed all three weeks of the program were able to sit for a final exam to be certified with the IAI as Crime Scene Investigators. "IAI certification makes officers very marketable to hiring agencies," said Bytheway. "We had participants evaluate the program and each instructor. They said the program was excellent, and it exceeded their expectations. They especially loved the hands-on and said they would recommend the course."
STAFS will be offering the training again this coming spring.