News from the Field

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Training Review:
Center for Domestic Preparedness All-Hazards Training Courses

Hazardous-material evidence collection training has become a national focus. Those who collect evidence at crime scenes need to be aware of and know how to handle the potential recovery of chemicals, explosives, and biological or radiological materials. In spite of the growing need for educating crime-scene personnel in the proper handling of hazardous-material situations, our training budgets do not necessarily accommodate that need.

To relieve the financial burden to the states, counties, and municipalities, the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), located in Anniston, Alabama, was founded by FEMA in 1998. The CDP is now entering its 12th year as the nation’s only federally-chartered weapons of mass destruction (WMD) training facility for civilian responders.

The training prepares responders to properly respond to and document a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosives (CBRNE) incident. To date, over 500,000 first responders have been trained in various courses pertaining to WMD.

The target audience/disciplines are law enforcement, emergency medical services (EMS), emergency management agency (EMA), fire service, hazardous materials (HAZMAT), public works, governmental administration, public safety communications, health care, and public health.

I recently completed a course that was a combination of the Crime Scene Management for CBRNE Incidents, the Hazardous Materials Evidence Collection for CBRNE Incidents, and the Hands-On Training for CBRNE Incidents.

The FBI’s Crime Scene Search Protocol is taught in the evidence-collection techniques, while utilizing personal protective equipment (PPE). The responders are also taught and are ultimately able to perform technical decontamination of personnel and collected materials during practical exercises.

The hands-on practical exercises are realistic mock crime scenes consisting of prop explosives and potential chemical or biological threats, providing the student with the confidence and ability to perform triage and decontamination procedures, the ability to identify residual contamination through the use of survey and monitoring equipment, and the knowhow to conduct scene surveys and follow the proper safety precautions.

This training is truly invaluable, not only for our safety, but for the safety of the civilians, using a nationally accepted evidence-collection process. The collection process utilized is accepted as a universal approach to evidence collection and has withstood defense actions.

The cost of any and all of the courses offered by the Center for Domestic Preparedness is a whopping Zero, Nada, No Cost to the individual, the municipality, the county, or the state.

The flight (or drive), lodging, and food is paid for 100-percent. Even airport parking, baggage fees, and mileage are reimbursed.

All you need is the time off to attend your chosen course. It is definitely a win-win situation for your personnel and training budget.

For more information about other training opportunities, go to: or call: 866-213-9553

This review was written by Brian R. Helmich, the Evidence Custodian for the Hope Mills (North Carolina) Police Department. He is a graduate of the International Association for Property and Evidence (IAPE) and an active member of the North Carolina Association for Property and Evidence. He can be reached at: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Three-day symposium in the Midwest offers training and education
on a variety of basic and advanced crime-scene topics

The Midwestern Association of Forensic Scientists and the Midwest Forensics Resource Center will host a Crime Scene Symposium October 4-6, 2010 in Kansas City, Missouri. The symposium offers a unique training opportunity for crime-scene investigators, detectives, and forensic scientists to discuss current trends and techniques on a variety of topics. Symposium titles include:

  • Legal Issues Concerning Search and Seizure
  • Proficiency and Competency Testing
  • Bloodstain Documentation
  • Bloodstain Searching and Pattern Enhancement
  • Advanced Fingerprinting Techniques
  • ISO Accreditation Issues Facing CSI
  • Environmental Evidence: Forensic Anthropology
  • Advanced Photography Techniques
  • Diagramming Techniques
  • Maintaining Scene and Evidence Integrity
  • Crime Scene Searching Techniques
  • Full-Body Processing Techniques
  • Shooting Reconstruction
  • Crime Scene Reconstruction

A full menu of workshops is offered in addition to the symposium sessions. These workshops range from Mass Spectral Interpretation of Unknowns, Micro XRF Theory and Application, and Forensic Raman Analysis to Fabric Impression Evidence, Advanced Latent Print Testimony, and Bloodstain Pattern Analysis for DNA Analysts.

To learn more about the Crime Scene Symposium, go to:

Or contact Jeremy Morris at: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Note: Early registration discount ends August 31, 2010.


The caption under the main photo of the article “Questioned Document Examination” (July-August 2010), states that a check was examined under 400x magnification using a MiScope Handheld Digital Microscope. This figure should have read “140x magnification”. The Zarbeco MiScope Handheld Digital Microscope offers 40x-140x magnification.

"News from the Field," ETM Staff
July-August 2010 (Volume 8, Number 4)
Evidence Technology Magazine
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