The free training opportunity, which will combine classroom instruction and hand-on practical exercises, is an introductory course for environmental enforcement professionals to better prepare them for the issues they may encounter in the field. It is available to sanitarians, code enforcers, law enforcement and others.
“This is an opportunity for professionals to get real-world experience in materials they may encounter in the field so they can keep themselves and their communities safe and build an effective case against those who are responsible,” said Andrea Hoke, Project Manager for Project EnCriPT.
The three-day course, taught by experienced and professional instructors, will examine such issues as the history of environmental enforcement, hazardous substances and toxicology; officer safety and health plans; scene documentation; evidence collection; and much more. In addition to using equipment found in the field, the class will offer live demonstrations and practical exercises for participants.
“Environmental Enforcement Introductory Training” is part of a larger project funded by the Environmental Protection Agency to train environmental enforcement professionals at local, state and tribal levels to better protect public health and the environment. In addition to hands-on training at Sam Houston State University, the program offers free online training for beginner and intermediate level professionals to address a diverse array of issues in the field, including investigation techniques, illegal dumping cases and safety issues, to name a few.
Participants also will be exposed to detection and monitoring equipment used in a wide variety of environmental cases and will review how to collect, handle and analyze evidence.
The program will include live training exercises, including potential hazardous materials, debris piles, solids, and sludge as well as contained and uncontained scenes. Participants will learn how to document the scenes, including photography, sketching and mapping and how to sample various types of materials.
The scenarios will be placed in various settings, from fields to wetlands, providing hands-on experiences of how to contain hazardous materials at various locations.
“Each scene encountered by an environmental professional is different, and it is important to recognize the potential hazards that exists and how it may impact the surrounding areas,” said Hoke.
Project EnCriPT is offered by LEMIT, a nationally recognized institute offering premiere professional development opportunities in policing. Since 1989, LEMIT has served law enforcement agencies in Texas, including Police, Sheriffs, Constables, School and College Police, Alcohol Beverage Control Agents, District Attorneys and Attorney General Offices, and Emergency Management Coordinators. In addition to developing training for law enforcement, LEMIT recently developed an online forensic science certification training for high school teachers in Texas.