Judge's benchCOLLEGE STATION — The Texas Forensic Science Academy has launched its latest online forensics course, Foundations of Courtroom Testimony, which covers the basics of presenting credible, effective courtroom testimony. It is available tuition-free until Sept. 30, 2017, thanks to funding from the Texas Office of the Governor – Criminal Justice Division (CJD).

Officers and investigators who perform investigations or deal with evidence from crime scenes must serve as expert witnesses and be perceived as professional, convincing and credible from the moment they enter the courtroom, said Christine Ramirez, Training Manager for the Texas Forensic Science Academy, which is part of the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX). This course introduces the basics of effective communication in the courtroom, the anatomy of a jury trial, how to prepare for court, and other do’s and don’ts.

The course is open to all who wish to learn more about our court system and courtroom testimony. Qualified participants who complete the course are eligible for 16 hours of credit from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE).

A soon-to-be-released 24-hour, face-to-face course, Courtroom Testimony Practical Applications, will include mock testimony in a simulated courtroom and other experiential training that expands on the topics covered in the online course. The 16-hour online and 24-hour classroom-based courses meet the 40-hour requirement for several TEEX Forensics Science Academy certificate programs: Forensic Fire Investigator, Forensic Investigator I, Major Crimes Investigator and Property and Evidence Management.

Although the online course targets law enforcement officers and non-commissioned personnel in small and mid-sized law enforcement agencies in Texas, the course may be useful to anyone who serves as an expert witness or provides courtroom testimony. There are no prerequisites for the online course.

“This course is part of our continuing efforts to reach practitioners and participants who would not be able to receive this training if not for the e-learning opportunity,” Ramirez said. “We appreciate the continued support of the Criminal Justice Division in our mission to positively impact law enforcement and forensic practitioners. Kudos go to our curriculum development team, which has done an outstanding job of developing and delivering complex content in an engaging format for online learning.”

This is the sixth online course offered by the TEEX Forensic Science Academy, and five of those courses were developed through CJD funding. Other online courses offered by the Texas Forensic Science Academy are:

Learn more about certificate programs offered by the Texas Forensic Science Academy.

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