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KNOXVILLE –- While the crime-solving gadgets and gizmos on TV dramas are not real, crime scene investigators from across the country are coming to Knoxville Aug. 28-31 to learn about the devices that are.

About 150 CSIs will return to the University of Tennessee’s National Forensic Academy to polish their skills and study emerging trends and techniques in crime scene investigation at the NFA’s Alumni Retraining Seminar.

NFA Program Director Jarrett Hallcox said the retraining event allows NFA alumni to practice new techniques in evidence collection, identification and preservation.

“Every single NFA session is different with new elements the CSIs have requested,” Hallcox said. “Alumni often wish they could return to the academy for another session when they hear about new topics that have been added to the curriculum.”

Open only to CSIs who have graduated from the academy, the retrainer event gives alumni the chance to come back and learn about cutting-edge developments in crime scene investigation.

Sessions during this retrainer event will focus on forensic odontology, courtroom testimony for the CSI, forensic entomology, new chemical processes for evidence, new crime scene techniques and several new technologies, including the VSC5000 Document Imaging System, Robotic Total Station Mapping and DeltaSphere 360-degree Imaging.

The four-day event will feature speakers known nationwide for their forensic expertise. Speakers will include:

• Dr. William Bass, renowned forensic anthropologist and founder of UT’s Forensic Anthropology Center, which houses the research facility known as the Body Farm. Bass will give a presentation on some of the more interesting cases he’s worked.

• Dr. Bill Halbert, an educator, speaker and business consultant leading The Halbert Co. of Nashville. He is a motivational speaker who specializes in management issues.

• Clare Smithies, technical manager with LGC Forensics in England, a privately owned forensic laboratory. Founded more than 150 years ago, LGC is considered the Government Chemist and referees cases where there are disputes over results.

• Larry Thomas, assistant director with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Special Operations Division. He directed KBI’s involvement in the BTK Task Force. The BTK Strangler was arrested and sentenced in 2005 for the murder of 10 people between 1974 and 1991.

• Dick Warrington of the Lynn Peavey Co. During his “Gadgets and Gizmos” lecture, he will demonstrate and offer hands-on experience with some of the latest CSI tools.

The NFA is a program of UT’s Law Enforcement Innovation Center, an agency of the UT Institute for Public Service. Open only to law enforcement personnel, the academy has trained CSIs from 43 states and the District of Columbia. Fifteen 10-week sessions have been held since September 2001.

At the academy, investigators get hands-on experience in topics to include arson reconstructions and vehicle bombings, and academy instructors demonstrate and explain weapons of mass destruction, suicide bombings, booby traps and fire scene fatalities. Participants gather, analyze, document and process evidence using the latest forensic techniques.


Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034,
Queena Jones, (865) 974-1533,

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Tuesday, Aug. 29
9:10 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. — Larry Thomas

Hour-long breakout sessions begin at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Topics are Robotic Total Station Mapping, DeltaSphere 360 Imaging, and new chemical processes for the CSI. A final breakout session will involve a demonstration of a new document analysis machine, identical to one used to examine Jack the Ripper’s papers in London. The machine was purchased for the Knoxville Police Department by best-selling author Patricia Cornwell, who has a long-standing relationship with the NFA.

Wednesday, Aug. 30
9:10 a.m. to 11:10 a.m. — Dick Warrington
11:40 to 1:30 p.m. — Clare Smithies
7 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Dr. Bill Halbert

Hour-long breakout sessions begin at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Topics include forensic odontology for the CSI, courtroom testimony for the CSI, forensic entomology and new techniques in forensic photography and impression evidence.

Thursday, Aug. 31
10:10 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. — Dr. William Bass