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In the News

Law enforcement academy course educates about crime scenes

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Besides being required to advance a police officer’s career, the intermediate crime scene in-service training course allows departments and officers in the region to ensure evidence is properly handled and criminal cases are solved.

“In order to do an investigation, you are going to need all the tools available to you, and this goes over the basics with more details,” said Randy Holmes, Capital Area Council of Governments Regional Law Enforcement Academy chief instructor.

The course offers a chance for patrol officers to learn advanced techniques for preparing a crime scene investigation, finger printing, photographing a crime scene and more. It also can serve as a refresher for current investigators since it provides 32 hours towards required continuing education to maintain a Texas Commission of Law Enforcement peace officer’s license.

Intermediate Crime Scene training discusses the legal aspects of crime scene searches and the handling of evidence.

After taking the course, students are able to explain certain objectives and legal obligations that must be followed during a crime scene search. Objectives for a crime scene search include establishing a crime was committed, identifying the type of crime committed and placing a suspect at the scene. The latter can be determined from items such as shoe impressions that may match those of a known suspect in the community or a witness’s description of the criminal.

While police and public safety departments may have their own procedures and plans for handling crime scenes, this course helps ensure individual portions of those plans are correctly and legally handled, Holmes said. “All of that is critical, because if you don’t do it right, very guilty people can go free.”

Major investigations, such as the OJ Simpson murder case, can hinge on the evidence and how it was treated from start to finish. Handling evidence poorly may lead to a jury having doubts about the results of the investigation.

Since 2010, the Capital Area Council of Governments Regional Law Enforcement Academy has conducted the intermediate crime scene training course 12 times. More than 200 officers inside and outside the region have attended the course since 2005. A course, which was conducted from June 23 to June 27 in Williamson County, instructed nine officers.

Courses such as the intermediate crime scene training are often done at the request of law enforcement jurisdictions in the region. Police departments and sheriff offices look to ensure their officers are staying knowledgeable about new and best practices in the field and often want their officers to advance their careers.

Continued education and learning is important for any field but especially for law enforcement, Holmes said.

“The more you know the better job you do,” Holmes said. “Being an expert in something is all about mastering the basics.”

> Learn more about the Capital Area Council of Governments Law Enforcement Training Academy.
> Review courses available.

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