Professionals Train in Crime Scene Investigations

Bone Measurement Demonstration

Dr. Joan Bytheway, Bobby Ferguson, Janet Barcelona (l to r) measure a femur during the Crime Scene Investigation training.

Law enforcement officers, forensic specialists and graduate students can get hands-on experience in crime scene investigation and analysis and earn certification from the International Association of Identification (IAI) through a series of special sessions offered this fall.

For the second year, the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science(STAFS) Facility at Sam Houston State University is offering three training sessions on "Crime Scene Investigation and Analysis Designed for Practitioners, Academics and Students." Held in conjunction with the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas and the IAI, the five-day sessions are designed to provide a foundation, intermediate and advanced training in crime scene investigation techniques, while preparing professionals to take certification exams.

"The Institute draws on leading academics and practitioners in the field to offer sworn law enforcement personnel and unsworn law enforcement support staff the opportunity to attend world-class training for which they can obtain a recognized professional qualification," said Dr. Rita Watkins, director of LEMIT. "The course is also beneficial for practitioners and academicians desiring continued education in forensic science and crime scene investigation."

The courses provide 48-hour modules that allow law officers to earn credits from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and that meets the education requirements for the IAI certification.

The first session, the Foundation Program, will be held from Sept. 13-17. After taking an online, eight-hour ethics course, which covers quality assurance and ethical practices in handling evidence, participants receive hands-on instruction from professionals in the field. During this session, participants will be photographing evidence, during both the day and a night; participating in courtroom testimony, writing reports and recognizing, collecting and preserving evidence.

Those teaching the classes will be Chris Duncan, a crime scene photographer for the Houston Police Department; Bill Ballard of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, who specializes in digital and computer evidence, and Sgt. Rick Anderson of the Montgomery County Sheriff Office, a certified IAI instructor.

The second session, which is an intermediate program, is scheduled to Sept. 20-24. This course will cover pattern evidence, footwear and tire impressions, DNA collection techniques, tool mark impression, trace evidence collection, fingerprint technology, latent fingerprinting and preparation for IAI Level 2 exam.

The third session, the advanced program, will be held on Sept. 27 - Oct. 1. It covers medico-legal death investigations; forensic anthropology; forensic entomology; and forensic archeology and the processing buried, real human remains.

Although the registration period is over, these courses will be offered next fall. Future announcements for the 2011 courses can be found on the STAFS website at or the LEMIT website at

Among the instructors for the second two sessions are Anderson, Dr. Sibyl Bucheli, a Forensic Entomologist at Sam Houston State University; Dr. Jorn Yu, an Analytical Chemist at Sam Houston State University; Deborah Lind of the Pasadena Police Department Crime Lab, Dr. Joan Bytheway, Director of STAFS and a Forensic Anthropologist at Sam Houston State University and David Hoffpauir, a cartographer with the Incident Command and Simulation Training at LEMIT.

The courses prepare sworn law enforcement officers for the IAI certification process up to and including a senior analyst.

Classes are limited to 15 people to allow for hands-on participation.

Member of The Texas State University System