Virginia Department of Forensic Science
The Forensic Training Section services the entire Criminal Justice System and in particular, over ten thousand law enforcement officers throughout the Commonwealth. Each year, approximately 20-30 programs of varying length and complexity are offered and about 600 - 700 officers are exposed to technical training. This training concerns the many services offered by the forensic laboratory of the Department of Forensic Science, so that the laboratory value of evidence discovered at a crime scene will be recognized and that the evidence will be properly handled. In addition to the administration of a statewide program of short courses, the Training Section has the responsibility of the Virginia Forensic Science Academy, a 10-week school of crime scene technology. After successfully completing the 10-week course, the law enforcement officers should be able to demonstrate proper techniques of locating, recognizing and collecting items of physical evidence. They should also be able to preserve items of physical evidence, recognize the laboratory potential of examining physical evidence, properly package and submit physical evidence, and interpret a crime scene to develop a profile of a possible suspect.
Each year, Academy graduates are invited to attend a three-day retraining seminar to keep them abreast of changes in the areas of forensic science and evidence handling. In addition, one day workshops are presented to review problem areas involving physical evidence collection and to present case studies which illustrate evidence handling approaches and techniques.
Other aspects of the training section include the maintenance of an audio-visual library of movies, slide programs and videotapes, laboratory tours for police departments and the explanation of scientific concepts.