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KNOXVILLE — A member of the Gary, Indiana Police Department has been awarded the first Patricia Cornwell Scholarship to the University of Tennessee’s National Forensic Academy.

Corporal Cheryl A. Stanley, a 20-year veteran of the Gary Police Department, supervises the Crime Scene Investigations Unit.

Her coursework will include field exercises at UT’s anthropological research center, an internationally renowned facility founded by Dr. William Bass.

The academy is an intensive, 10-week program with national forensic experts to train law enforcement agencies in evidence identification, collection, and preservation. It seeks to prepare the crime scene investigator to recognize key elements and to improve the process of evidence recovery and submission.

Best-selling crime writer Patricia Cornwell became interested in the National Forensic Academy through her friendship with Bass, a mentor who has helped her with research for her novels. Last fall, she established a scholarship to help fund training.

“We need more places like UT to train forensic scientists, police, and prosecutors. Very few places teach police how to work crime scenes,” Cornwell said.

Stanley was nominated for the scholarship by U.S. Attorney Joseph S. Van Bokkelen of the Northern District of Indiana, which plans to fund academy training for six more law enforcement officers from its district over the next year.