Virginians Have Access to Training at Well-Known Department of Forensic Science

Virginia Forensic Science Academy Logo

The Department of Forensic Science (DFS) is a nationally accredited forensic laboratory system serving all of Virginia’s state and local law enforcement agencies, medical examiners, and Commonwealth’s Attorneys. Their examiners provide technical assistance and training, evaluate and analyze evidence, interpret results, and provide expert testimony related to the full spectrum of physical evidence recovered from crime scenes. According to the Web site:

The Forensic Training Section services the entire Criminal Justice System and in particular, over ten thousand law enforcement officers throughout the Commonwealth. Each year, approximately 20-30 programs of varying length and complexity are offered and about 600 – 700 officers are exposed to technical training. This training concerns the many services offered by the forensic laboratory of the Department of Forensic Science, so that the laboratory value of evidence discovered at a crime scene will be recognized and that the evidence will be properly handled.

Training Section also has the responsibility of the Virginia Forensic Science Academy, a 10-week school of crime scene technology. After successfully completing the 10-week course, the law enforcement officers should be able to demonstrate proper techniques of locating, recognizing and collecting items of physical evidence. They should also be able to preserve items of physical evidence, recognize the laboratory potential of examining physical evidence, properly package and submit physical evidence, and interpret a crime scene to develop a profile of a possible suspect.

Each year, Academy graduates are invited to attend a three-day retraining seminar to keep them abreast of changes in the areas of forensic science and evidence handling. In addition, one day workshops are presented to review problem areas involving physical evidence collection and to present case studies which illustrate evidence handling approaches and techniques.

Once a student has completed the courses, they have a choice of becoming active with the Forensic Science Adadamy Alumni Association. The goals of this organization are to bolster the work of the Forensic Science Academy as well as to encourage high standards of conduct by all crime scene processors.

The Department of Forensic Science is jointly involved with the Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) forensic science programs. VCU offers both a B.S. and a M.S. in forensic science. The Master of Science in Forensic Science is one of only 15 of its kind in the United States and the lecture/laboratory courses are taught at the DFS Central Laboratory. More information about both programs can be found at http://www.has.vcu.edu/forensics.

For additional information on education opportunities and a career brochure visit the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Web site.

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