BJA and NFSTC Advance Forensic Science Training


The National Forensic Science and Technology Center (NFSTC) is a training and technical assistance (TTA) provider dedicated to supporting the justice community through the provision of high-quality training, support of innovative programs, and evaluation of the latest technologies. The goal of NFSTC is to provide quality forensic science training that is both relevant and accessible for those who are on the front lines ensuring public safety. In order to promote that mission, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has provided NFSTC with funding for subject matter experts to provide instruction across a broad set of forensic disciplines. The NFSTC 2013 BJA training programs include: Essentials of Crime Scene Investigation (ECSI), Intermediate Crime Scene Investigation (ICSI), DNA Biological Screening for Law Enforcement, and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Awareness for Law Enforcement. NFSTC has a wealth of experience in developing forensic science training programs and calls upon a network of subject matter experts to deliver high-quality, interactive forensic science instruction. The NFSTC 2013 BJA training programs are offered through a cooperative agreement between NFSTC and BJA, which allows participants to take advantage of these training opportunities at no cost to their organizations. In a time of constricted resources and funding, NFSTC is a TTA provider that is able to provide funded forensic science training to law enforcement officials, preparing them to confront the challenge of real-world crime scene investigations.

Summary of Training Programs

The ESCI program introduces law enforcement personnel to the fundamental principles of crime scene investigation and prepares them for real-world crime scene situations. Trainers demonstrate techniques to recover high-value evidence and offer insight on how to make informed decisions regarding the collection, documentation, and preservation of evidence. Criminal justice professionals from 40 states participated in this training in 2010. Post-class survey data revealed that participants were able to immediately apply the skills acquired during the training to their daily work, especially those skills acquired in the photography of evidence. To build upon the foundation provided through ECSI, the ISCI program provides law enforcement professionals with skills in advanced fingerprint processing, footwear and tire track collection, field testing, specialized media documentation, and forensic light sources. More than 230 participated in the intensive, hands-on and scenario-based training experience in 2011.The ISCI program uses mock crime scene scenarios so that trainees can quickly and efficiently move from one scene to another to assess evidence samples in controlled conditions and practice and refine various investigation techniques. NFSTC and BJA also offer a DNA Biological Screening workshop and an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Awareness class. The DNA Biological Screening for Law Enforcement workshop teaches screening techniques for bodily fluids; the use of alternate light sources for locating biological stains; evidence collection, documentation, and case processing skills. The workshop has been described by past participants as being “the most informative training had in twenty years of law enforcement” with instructors that are “highly-trained and knowledgeable within their field.” The workshop impacts the criminal justice community by providing law enforcement officers with the necessary skills to obtain immediate investigative information, potentially reducing analytical lab requests. The IED Awareness for Law Enforcement training events give law enforcement officers a heightened understanding of the dangers and processes required for an IED incident and what actions and reactions should take place as a result. This training event incorporates hands-on practice, open-forum discussions on current domestic and international trends, and IED design and construction. Participants will analyze IED techniques and procedures, components and circuitry, and the threat of radio or remote controlled IEDs to help criminal justice practitioners combat the increasing threat of IEDs. NFSTC is currently coordinating these training sessions by region – a training schedule will be available soon. In the meantime, agencies interested in hosting training opportunities should contact NFSTC at or visit the 2013 BJA Training Programs page at for more information. To receive training announcements from NFSTC, sign up for the RSS feed on their website at or like them on Facebook at