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KNOXVILLE — Science and technology keep providing new options to crime scene investigators, and the University of Tennessee’s National Forensic Academy (NFA) gives CSIs opportunities to experiment with the latest forensic methods.

Graduates of UT’s National Forensic Academy
Seventeen CSIs, representing law enforcement agencies from Alaska to Florida, completed the latest NFA session on Nov. 17.

The NFA offers three sessions per year. Each is a 10-week, in-residence training program open only to law enforcement professionals. Class size is limited so each student has ample opportunity to research and practice the techniques demonstrated throughout the session.

About 60 percent of training involves hands-on, field exercises. Participants watch vehicles explode and burn, study actual human remains and analyze bloodstain patterns at mock crime scenes. Students gather, analyze, document and process evidence at mock crime scenes using innovative forensic tools. They learn to present the documented evidence accurately and effectively in presentations and courtroom testimonies.

As they process these scenes, NFA students can try new techniques, such as a new chemical to process fingerprints, before using them in an actual investigation.

“Experience is the best teacher,” said Bill Bass, founder of UT’s Anthropological Research Facility or “Body Farm.” Bass is among UT’s anthropological experts who teach at the NFA. Academy students spend a week at the Body Farm where they learn to document post-mortem changes to human remains and study skeletal biology. There, they also use the latest equipment and methods to practice burial discovery, recovery and mapping.

The NFA is a program of UT’s Law Enforcement Innovation Center, an agency of UT’s Institute for Public Service. Approximately 200 CSIs from 43 states and the District of Columbia have graduated from the academy since its formation in 2001.

Graduates of Session XVI:

Michelle Boubel, Plano, Texas, Police Department

Susan Smith, Plano, Texas, Police Department

Eric Burroughs, Alaska State Troopers, Anchorage

Jeremy Rupe, Alaska State Troopers, Fairbanks

Cecil Hutchins, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Conyers

Mechel “Mick” Washington, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Kingsland

Nicolai Jilek, Danville, Ky., Police Department
(Jilek was chosen to lead NFA Session XVI as class president.)

Amy Johnson, Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation, Ankeny

Candace Matthews, Brevard County, Fla., Sheriff’s Office, Titusville

Lisa Haakenstad, Seattle, Wash., Police Department

Lee Croxton, Georgia Police Academy, Forsyth

Jon Dicks, Rapid City, S.D., Police Department

Richard Dodge, Dallas, Texas, Police Department

Kim Price, Knoxville Police Department

Kris Sanders, Alcoa Police Department
(Sanders received the William Bass Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Forensic Investigation, an esteemed recognition from his classmates for his contributions to the class.)

Guy Carden, Brentwood Police Department

Michael Frizzell, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Jackson

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