Twenty-two people involved in investigating and processing crime scenes are the first to earn the Forensic Science Technician certificate from the Texas Forensic Science Academy, which was established by TEEX in 2008.
The 80-hour program covers techniques pertaining to proper investigation, identification, selection and packaging of evidence, said Christine Ramirez, Forensic Science Academy Training Coordinator. Topics include searches, documentation, latent print processing and blood print processing. To successfully complete the program, participants had to pass a written exam and a practical application project, which involved developing latent prints, photographing them and presenting the evidence.
The program was conducted at the TEEX Water/Wastewater laboratory at the Texas A&M Riverside Campus. Participants int he first graduating class represented 16 agencies, including the Bryan Police Department, Hutto Police Department, Cedar Park Police Department and the Directorate of Emergency Services at Fort Hood.
In the future, the Texas Forensic Science Academy will also offer certificate programs for Forensic Investigator (440 hours) and Forensic Analyst (330 hours). The programs offered are designed to improve evidence collection and support better preservation of DNA evidence used to convict or exonerate those accused of crimes, Ramirez said.