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Training Update: Course Descriptions (Part 1) for the FY2001 Specialized Forensic Science Training Program (FSC, October 2000)

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Masthead - Forensic Science Communications
October 2000   Volume 2   Number 4

Training Update

FY2001 Specialized Forensic Science Training Program

Course Descriptions — Part 1

ARSON

CTU 101
Laboratory
Analysis of
Fire Debris

Course
Length:
One week.
Eligible
Students:
Crime laboratory chemists who analyze fire debris. 
Prerequisites: Minimum two years of college chemistry and successful completion of Fundamentals of Forensic Chemistry (distance learning course, pending its availability prior to this course). Do not register separately for the distance learning course.
Description:

This course provides instruction on instrumental and non-instrumental techniques to do the following:

Properly collect, preserve, and transmit evidence from
a fire scene;

  • Recover, isolate, and identify flammable accelerants in fire debris;

  • Identify liquid accelerants and compare them with other accelerants to determine potential common origin; and

  • Integrate physics and chemistry of fire into on-scene and laboratory fire analyses.


FST 101
Basic Arson
Crime Scene
Investigation

Course
Length:
One week.
Eligible
Students:
Police and fire investigators responsible for determining the cause and origin of fires.
Prerequisites: None.
Description: This course is designed to familiarize the fire or police investigator with the basic principles of fire investigation and how they relate to arson. Instruction will include lectures on the basic principles of fire chemistry, burn patterns, sources of ignition, incendiary fires, accidental fires, electricity, NFPA 921, legal considerations, collection and preservation of evidence, and death investigation. Investigated fires will be reconstructed, and students will determine each fire's cause.


BOMBING

EXP 101
Post-Blast
Investigators

Course
Length:
One week.
Eligible
Students:
Law enforcement officers involved in bombing investigations.
Prerequisites: None.
Description: This course provides training in the processing of bombing crime scenes with emphasis on the identification and collection of fragmented and mutilated bomb components. Forensic capabilities relative to commonly encountered bomb components and bombing crime scene search techniques are covered.

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CHEMISTRY AND INSTRUMENTAL ANALYSIS

New and Distance Learning Course

FSR 100
Fundamentals of
Forensic Chemistry

**Note: Pending Approval for Release**

Minimum Computer
Requirements:
  • Pentium with floating-point coprocessor.

  • 16-MB memory minimum, 32-MB memory recommended.

  • Windows 95 or Windows NT 3.5.1 or later versions.

  • CD-ROM drive, sound card with speakers, and minimum 1024 × 768 monitor resolution.
Course
Length:
The preliminary course design has not been finalized. Tentatively, students will have at least one month to complete this distance learning course. Contact hours will vary from student to student.
Eligible Students: Crime laboratory forensic chemists, trace evidence analysts, and related laboratory personnel.
Prerequisites: None.
Description:

This course will provide fundamental training for all forensic chemists regardless of their specialized functions within a crime laboratory. This course (pending its availability) will be a prerequisite for all other courses listed within the Forensic Chemistry and Instrumental Analysis and Trace Evidence sections of this program. However, it can be taken as a stand-alone course.

Topics to be covered in the entry-level course include the following:

  • Introduction to forensic chemistry (history, applications to criminal justice, and related issues).

  • Basic science concepts (e.g., standards, limits of detection, and sampling).

  • Presumptive tests.

  • Extraction methods.

  • Instrumentation (theory, parts, use, and basic spectral interpretation):

    • Chromatography (TLC, GC, LC, CE, and others).

    • Mass spectrometry.

    • Infrared and Raman spectroscopy.

    • Elemental analysis.

    • Microscopy.

  • Forensic chemistry case highlights.

  • Reference material (glossary and readings).


FSR 102
Chromatographic
Methods in
Forensic Science

Course
Length:
One week.
Eligible
Students:
Crime laboratory forensic chemists, trace analysts, and toxicologists.
Prerequisites: Minimum two years of college chemistry and successful completion of Fundamentals of Forensic Chemistry (distance learning course, pending its availability prior to this course). Do not register separately for the distance learning course.
Description:

This course addresses trace analysis using basic chromatographic methods employed in forensic laboratory investigations. Lectures and laboratory exercises cover instrumentation theory, troubleshooting and checkout, data systems, method development, quantitation, and applications.

The techniques and detection systems that will be discussed include gas, liquid, thin layer, ion, and capillary electrophoresis chromatography. Practical applications in trace drug analysis, arson, explosives, and pyrolysis are introduced.

Students are requested to bring safety glasses and calculators.



Road School Only Course

FSR 115
Scanning Electron
Microscopy in
Forensic Science

Course
Length:
Four days.
Eligible
Students:
Crime laboratory scientists and technicians who operate scanning electron microscopes for forensic casework analysis.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Fundamentals of Forensic Chemistry course (distance learning course, pending its availability prior to this course). Do not register separately for the distance learning course.
Description:

This course covers the fundamentals of scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Instruction on sample preparation, analytical methods, and applications is presented.

The course does not focus on or significantly cover gunshot residue analysis.

Each student receives extensive handouts and reference materials as well as a package of essential supplies and samples to prepare and analyze.



FSR 130
Infrared Spectrometry
for Trace Analysis

Course
Length:
One week.
Eligible
Students:
Forensic laboratory trace analysts.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Fundamentals of Forensic Chemistry (distance learning course, pending its availability prior to this course). Do not register separately for the distance learning course.
Description: This course is designed to provide training in instrumentation, interpretation of data, sample preparation, optical configurations for sample introduction, and applications of Fourier transform infrared spectrometry to trace materials analysis. The laboratory exercise will place a large emphasis on the use of microscope attachments.


MAT 101
Forensic
Analysis
of Paint

Course
Length:
One week.
Eligible
Students:
Crime laboratory scientists conducting forensic analysis of paint.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Fundamentals of Forensic Chemistry (distance learning course, pending its availability prior to this course). Do not register separately for the distance learning course.
Description:

This course will cover a variety of techniques from evidence collection to instrumental protocols for the forensic analysis and comparison of automotive and architectural paints.

Lecture topics include an introduction to paints and coatings, microscopy, chemical tests, and various analytical techniques with an emphasis on FT–IR microspectroscopy. The course will also include hands-on training in a laboratory classroom.



New Course

MAT 103
Forensic Analyses of
Pressure-Sensitive Tapes

Course Length: One week.
Eligible Students: Crime laboratory scientists conducting forensic analyses of pressure-sensitive tapes.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Fundamentals of Forensic Chemistry (distance learning course, pending its availability prior to this course). Do not register separately for the distance learning course.
Description:

This course will cover a variety of techniques from evidence collection to analytical protocols for the forensic analysis and comparison of pressure-sensitive tapes such as duct tape, electrical tape, and packaging tape.

Lecture topics include introductions to duct tape and electrical tapes, microscopy, physical attributes, and chemical analyses of tape. The course will also include hands-on training in a laboratory classroom.



MAT 111
Instrumental Analysis of
Explosives and
Explosive Residues

Course
Length:
One week.
Eligible
Students:
Crime laboratory analysts who will conduct or who are conducting explosive examinations.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Fundamentals of Forensic Chemistry (distance learning course, pending its availability prior to this course). Do not register separately for the distance learning course.
Description: This course offers a full survey of explosives and explosives residue analysis. Topics include the history of explosives, manufacturing processes, the chemistry of explosives, and other related information. Lectures from various explosive experts are integrated into the syllabus. Training will also be provided on techniques used by modern forensic laboratories in the analyses of explosives and residues formed after an explosion. A practical exercise on an outdoor range will demonstrate the physical appearance of explosive materials and their energetic properties.

Back to the course listing


CRIME SCENE

FST 135
Investigating
Child Abuse and
Exploitation
Training Seminar

Course
Length:
One week.
Eligible
Students:
Law enforcement officers involved with investigating child abuse and crime scene evidence technicians responsible for recognizing, processing, preserving, and collecting physical evidence from child abuse and exploitation cases.
Prerequisites: None.
Description:

This course will be offered in a large classroom-sized format (approximately 200 students). It will be seminar-style with prominent guest lecturers presenting child abuse-related topics.

The following are topics covered by the experts in past courses:

  • Investigative responsibilities.

  • Infant and child death investigations.

  • Forensic evidence in child abuse cases.

  • Prosecuting fatal and sexual child abuse.

  • Behavioral analysis of child molesters.

  • Computer exploitation: Innocent Images.

  • Interrogating subjects.

  • Interviewing children.

  • Megan's Law.

  • The law enforcement response to missing and exploited children.

  • Child abduction response plan.


Distance Learning Course

FST 137
Forensic Evidence in
Child Abuse Cases

Minimum Computer
Requirements:
  • Pentium with floating-point coprocessor.

  • 16-MB memory minimum, 32-MB memory recommended.

  • Windows 95 or Windows NT 3.5.1 or later versions.

  • CD-ROM drive, sound card with speakers, and minimum 640 × 480 monitor resolution.
Course
Length:
Students will have at least one month to complete this distance learning course and submit their test scores. Contact hours will vary from student to student.
Eligible
Students:
Law enforcement officers involved with investigating child abuse (beginning level) and crime scene evidence technicians responsible for recognizing, processing, preserving, and collecting physical evidence from child abuse and exploitation cases. The material covered in this course is also of value to any violent crime investigator.
Prerequisites: None.
Description:

This course is organized into the following modules:

  • Introduction to physical evidence.

  • Body fluids.

  • Trace evidence.

  • Chemistry.

  • Entomology.

  • Bite marks.

  • Photography.

  • Case histories.

Upon completion, the investigator will have greater insight and appreciation for the role physical evidence can play in certain child abuse investigations and how to better organize searches in various types of crime scenes associated with child abuse and other violent crime investigations.



New and Distance Learning Course

FST 139
Fundamentals
of Bloodstain
Pattern Analysis

**Note: Pending Approval for Release**

Minimum Computer
Requirements:
  • Pentium with floating-point coprocessor.

  • 16-MB memory minimum, 32-MB memory recommended.

  • Windows 95 or Windows NT 3.5.1 or later versions.

  • CD-ROM drive, sound card with speakers, and minimum 1024 × 768 monitor resolution.
Course
Length:
The preliminary course design has not been finalized as of this date. Tentatively, students will have at least one month to complete this distance learning course. Contact hours will vary from student to student.
Eligible
Students:
Evidence technicians, crime laboratory personnel, and medical examiner or coroner office personnel.
Prerequisites: None.
Description:

This course will provide fundamental training in bloodstain pattern analysis (BPA). It is required coursework (pending its availability) for students applying for any of the other BPA courses listed in this program. However, it can be taken as a stand-alone course.

This distance learning is a comprehensive course covering all aspects of bloodstain pattern analysis. It is organized into the following seven modules:

  • Basics.

  • Patterns.

  • Documentation.

  • Collection.

  • Reconstruction.

  • Report writing.

  • Testimony.

The course is designed to provide an excellent theoretical background in bloodstain pattern analysis and to enhance follow-up hands-on training.



FST 140
Bloodstain Pattern
Analysis for the
Examiner/Analyst

Course
Length:
One week (40 hours).
Eligible
Students:
Evidence technicians, crime laboratory personnel, and medical examiner or coroner office personnel.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Fundamentals of Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (distance learning course, pending its availability prior to this course). Do not register separately for the distance learning course.
Description:

This is an intermediate level course in bloodstain pattern analysis. It is designed specifically for individuals who are, or are working toward becoming, bloodstain pattern analysts and examiners.

The course provides hands-on reinforcement of the concepts covered in the distance learning course. In addition, reconstruction exercises from both mock scenes and documentation will be included. The course also addresses report writing and court testimony issues.

Please note that screened human blood will be used in the demonstrations and practical exercises. However, protective clothing and equipment (e.g., tyvek suits and goggles) will be supplied, and students are instructed to exercise universal safety precautions.

Practical exercises will be used to reinforce the following:

  • The fundamental principles of bloodstain pattern analysis.

  • Pattern definition and recognition.

  • Proper documentation (note taking, sketching, measuring, and photographing).

  • Use of bloodstain pattern analysis for stain collection determination.

  • Reconstruction of events from mock crime scenes.

  • Reconstruction of events from documentation only.

  • Report writing.

Students will be required to bring photographic equipment (e.g., camera, lenses, tripod, and bubble level) for this course.



New Course

FST 145
Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
for Documentation and
Collection of Blood Evidence

Course
Length:
One week (40 hours).
Eligible
Students:
Evidence technicians, crime laboratory personnel, and medical examiner or coroner office personnel.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Fundamentals of Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (distance learning course, pending its availability prior to this course). Do not register separately for the distance learning course.
Description:

This is an intermediate level course in bloodstain pattern analysis. It is designed specifically for individuals who encounter blood evidence at the crime scene or on evidence in a laboratory setting (e.g., clothing and weapons).

The focus of the course is on the detection, documentation, enhancement, and collection of blood evidence. It does not include the use of bloodstain pattern analysis for reconstruction purposes. Rather, it provides instruction on how to properly record (note taking, sketching, measuring, and photographing) bloodstain patterns if a bloodstain pattern analyst needs to conduct a reconstruction in the future.

Lecture material (including information contained in the distance learning course) will be reinforced with numerous demonstrations and practical exercises.

Please note that screened human blood will be used in the demonstrations and practical exercises. However, protective clothing and equipment (e.g., tyvek suits and goggles) will be supplied, and students are instructed to exercise universal safety precautions.

Practical exercises will be used to reinforce the following:

  • The fundamental principles of bloodstain pattern analysis.

  • Pattern definition and recognition.

  • Proper documentation (note taking, sketching, measuring, and photographing).

  • Use of bloodstain pattern analysis for stain collection determination.

  • Collection, packaging, and preservation of blood evidence.

Students will be required to bring photographic equipment (e.g., camera, lenses, tripod, and bubble level) for this course.



FST 150
Crime Scene Survey,
Documentation, and
Diagramming

Course
Length:
One week.
Eligible
Students:
Police investigators, evidence technicians, and/or crime laboratory personnel responsible for documenting crime scenes.
Prerequisites: None.
Description:

This course covers basic crime scene survey and diagramming techniques. Instruction in diagramming methodology, reading scales, and producing scale drawings and finished drawings will be presented. Information on courtroom presentations will be provided.

Students will participate in practical exercises where they will be given the opportunity to practice surveying, documenting, and diagramming mock crime scenes.



Distance Learning Course

FST 165
Basic Crime Scene
Management

Minimum Computer
Requirements:
  • Pentium with floating-point coprocessor.

  • 16-MB memory minimum, 32-MB memory recommended.

  • Windows 95 or Windows NT 3.5.1 or later versions.

  • CD-ROM drive, sound card with speakers, and minimum 640 × 480 monitor resolution.
Course
Length:
Students will have at least one month to complete this distance learning course and submit their test scores. Contact hours will vary from student to student.
Eligible
Students:
Evidence technicians, crime laboratory personnel, and medical examiner or coroner office personnel.
Prerequisites: None.
Description:

This course covers the basics of crime scene management and consists of the following five modules:

  • Organization and basic stages.

  • Roles and responsibilities.

  • Evidence collection.

  • Safety.

  • Documentation.

The goal of the course is to introduce police and/or crime laboratory personnel to the basic components of crime scene management. Each module has activities to reinforce the lecture material. In addition, there are five post-tests (one after each module) that are used to evaluate the student. Police and laboratory managers responsible for crime scene personnel may also benefit from this course.



New Course

FST 170
Rape and
Serial Rape
Investigations

Course
Length:
One week.
Eligible
Students:
Law enforcement officers involved in rape and serial rape investigations.
Prerequisites: None.
Description:

This course includes presentations by investigators and experts on rape investigation techniques, attorneys involved in rape trials, and experts involved in the collection and preservation of rape evidence. This training will also address drug-facilitated sexual assaults and rape post-conviction investigations.

The profiling of rapists and current serial rapist research will also be included in the training. The effective use of CODIS, DNA testing, profiling, VICAP, victim-witness coordinators, rape crisis centers, and sexual offender tracking will be presented. The course will also include a presentation by a rape victim, who will provide a perspective of rape investigations. The rape investigator will be exposed to the essential elements of a rape investigation and how these elements are integrated into a successful rape investigation.


Back to the course listing


DNA

New and Distance Learning Course

DNA 150
Fundamentals in
Forensic Biology

**Note: Pending Approval for Release**

Minimum Computer
Requirements:
  • Pentium with floating-point coprocessor.

  • 16-MB memory minimum, 32-MB memory recommended.

  • Windows 95 or Windows NT 3.5.1 or later versions.

  • CD-ROM drive, sound card with speakers, and minimum 1024 × 768 monitor resolution. 
Course
Length:
Students will have at least one month to complete this distance learning course and submit their test scores. Contact hours will vary from student to student.
Eligible
Students:
Crime laboratory forensic biologists.
Prerequisites: None.
Description:

This course provides the fundamental theory and practices used in forensic biology. It is a prerequisite for other courses listed in the DNA section of this program. However, it can be taken as a stand-alone course.

Modules are planned that will cover presumptive tests, stain identification, and both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA techniques. Emphasis will be placed on the application of PCR-based techniques for the analysis of biological fluids and tissues found at crime scenes.



DNA 164
Short Tandem
Repeat (STR)
Analysis by
Capillary
Electrophoresis

Course
Length:
One week.
Eligible
Students:
Forensic laboratory biologists.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Fundamentals of Forensic Biology (distance learning course, pending its availability prior to this course). Do not register separately for the distance learning course.
Description:

This course will focus on STR analysis by capillary electrophoresis and is lecture-based. There is no laboratory work with this training. The following topics will be included:

  • Genome structure and basics of polymerase chain reaction.

  • Amplification of short tandem repeat regions.

  • Commercial typing systems and analytical platforms.

  • Research validation of the ABI Prism® 310, the Profiler Plus™ Genetic Analyzer, and the AmpFLSTR® COfiler™ Kit typing systems and applied validation studies.

  • Principles of STR detection by the ABI Prism® 310.

  • Administrative aspects of STR detection.

  • Sample preparation, DNA quantification, and amplification set-up.

  • Data print-outs, data analysis and interpretation rules, and case studies.

  • Profile frequency estimates.

  • Evaluating analytical stability and interchanging data among multiple ABI Prism® 310s.

  • Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

  • Meeting DNA Advisory Board guidelines.

  • Admissibility and testimony issues.

Population statistics may be covered depending on time and instructor availability.



DNA 170
Forensic
Mitochondrial
DNA Analysis

Course
Length:
Two weeks.
Eligible
Students:
Crime laboratory examiners and DNA biologists conducting or preparing to conduct forensic mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Fundamentals of Forensic Biology (distance learning course, pending its availability prior to this course). Do not register separately for the distance learning course.
Description:

This course provides classroom and laboratory experience in the principles and procedures involved in typing mtDNA from evidentiary items such as hair, teeth, and bones.

Classroom instruction is focused on the nature of mtDNA, molecular biology principles involved in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing, and legal issues related to this technique. Discussions regarding scientific literature published in the forensic mtDNA analysis will also be conducted.

Laboratory procedures include DNA extraction, PCR, quantification of amplified products by capillary electrophoresis, and automated sequencing. Computer-based practice compiling sequences and database searches using appropriate software is provided. Moot court exercises are also conducted.


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DOCUMENTS

DOC 103
Fundamentals of
Handwriting
Examinations

Course
Length:
One week.
Eligible
Students:
Crime laboratory questioned document examiners and/or examiner trainees.
Prerequisites: None.
Description:

This course is designed to provide basic instruction on handwriting examinations.

It includes all aspects of this discipline including:

  • Forgeries.

  • Obliteration.

  • Indented writing.

The class will have formalized lectures and a broad range of practical exercises to expand the exposure of students to different types of handwriting problems. Moot court practice will be included.



DOC 104
Fundamentals of
Office Equipment and
Printing Processes

Course
Length:
Two weeks.
Eligible
Students:
Crime laboratory questioned document examiners and/or examiner trainees.
Prerequisites: None.
Description:

This course provides advanced instruction in all aspects of office equipment examinations for the forensic document examiner.

Printing processes and their resulting class and individual characteristics will be discussed for typewriters, photocopiers, fax machines, and other machine printing devices.

Students will be required to participate in a moot court exercise as the final part of this course.



New Course

DOC 105
Moot Court/Daubert
Instruction for
Questioned Document
Examiners

Course
Length:
One week.
Eligible
Students:
Crime laboratory questioned document examiners and/or examiner trainees who are currently testifying or will routinely testify to their results.
Prerequisites: None.
Description:

This course will cover the testimony basics from the initial contact for request of testimony to the courtroom presentation of the expert's findings, including charts, courtroom dress, mannerisms, pretrial information and requirements, witness-room conduct, paperwork, and defense requests. An overview of Daubert challenges will be presented, including acceptance in court, testing conducted, the Daubert approach, court cases decided since Daubert challenges, and current undertakings.

Students will be required to participate in either a moot court exercise or a Daubert hearing. Each student will be required to provide a mock or adjudicated handwriting or hand printing case, case notes, and a chart for demonstration purposes. Students must also procure and read required literature for the class.



Answers to Commonly Asked Questions

Application Process

Registration Deadline

Application for Specialized Training Program

Privacy Act Statement



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FORENSIC SCIENCE COMMUNICATIONS     OCTOBER 2000   VOLUME 2   NUMBER 4

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