Course Subjects

Courses are highly customizable depending on your agency's needs. OFS can offer a general course that is completely planned out; or we can work with you to highlight certain subjects that are more relevant to your organization. Below is a sample of our more popular course offerings along with a brief course synopsis. More courses are available upon request.

Basic Bloodstain Pattern Recognition

This basic course introduces the students to the various concepts and techniques utilized in bloodstain pattern analysis. Accurate reconstruction cannot be achieved without appropriate documentation at the scene; and proper documentation starts with proper recognition. In this course the student will learn the different types of patterns that are typically associated with blood-shedding events as well as the correct way to document, photograph, and measure the patterns so the best possible reconstruction can be achieved later, if needed.

Basic Crime Scene Investigation Techniques

This 5-day course is designed for new and experienced crime scene investigators, police officers, detectives, or anyone assigned with the task of processing crime scenes for evidence. The course consists of lectures which are immediately followed by practical exercises designed to reinforce the concepts/techniques the students learn during the lecture. This course covers multiple areas of crime scene investigation including:

- Crime Scene Photography
- Evidence Identification, Collection, and Preservation
- Latent Fingerprint Processing
- DNA Evidence Recovery
- Impression Evidence Recovery
- Legal Issues
- Crime Scene Management
- Bullet Trajectory & Impact Analysis

- Bloodstain Pattern Recognition

Bullet Trajectory & Impact Analysis

This advanced course prepares students to draw conclusions in regard to shooting incidents. The effects of bullets as they pass through various surfaces as well as the effects of various surfaces on bullets will be studied. In this course the student will learn the correct terminology to be used in regard to shooting incidents as well as the correct way to document, analyze, photograph, and measure impact sites.

 

Conclusions that can be drawn after completing this course include: direction of force (entry vs. exit), relative directionality (left vs. right and upward vs. downward), and shot sequencing. The course will also set the stage for more in-depth analysis such as angle of incidence determination including horizontal and vertical angles.

Death Investigations

This course focuses on the typical causes and manners of death, along with the associated injuries with each type of death.  Causes of death studied in this course include gunshot wounds, cuttings/stabbings, asphyxiation, carbon-monoxide poisoning, fire deaths, and many more. The typical signs of the decomposition process will also be outlined and discussed.

DNA Evidence Recovery

DNA analysis has become increasingly sensitive in recent years. This course focuses on the recognition of the probative items/areas of evidence likely to contain DNA, as well as the proper methods for recovering, packaging, and preserving this form of evidence.

Firearms & Toolmark Evidence

This course presents the foundational concepts involved in firearms and toolmarks analysis; focusing on the relevant characteristics used to compare items such as cartridge casings, bullets, firearms, and various tools. When completed, the student will have a better understanding of the importance of this type of evidence and what to look for on scene.

First Responders & Forensic Evidence

This course is geared towards the patrol officer and the actions they take upon arriving on scene. The actions of the first responders on scene can lead to the success or failure of an investigation. It is imperative that first responders understand their role not only as officers, but also their role in the preservation of evidence and documentation of the scene. First responders often bear witness to the many changes and manipulations occurring on scene during the high stress of securing it and rendering aid to persons. It is vital that this information is adequately observed, documented, and relayed to investigators and detectives. This task starts with the proper recognition of forensic evidence and its inherent fragility.

Impression Evidence Recovery

This course focuses on the recognition, recovery, and preservation of impression evidence, which includes fingerprints, footprints, footwear, tire tracks, tool marks, etc. An examination of the various substrates on which these impressions are found will also be studied, along with proper recovery techniques from each of those substrates.

Photography - Advanced Crime Scene

This course is designed for individuals who have a basic understanding of the DSLR camera functions, but would like more in-depth knowledge of how to properly use their camera and deal with more advanced issues. The course consists of photography lectures followed immediately with practical exercises to reinforce the lecture material.

Photography - Basic Crime Scene

This course is designed for individuals who are inexperienced with a DSLR camera or how to properly document a crime scene photographically. If you shoot in "Full Auto" or "Green Box" mode, then this course is for you. Specific attention will be paid to the functions of a DSLR camera, including the various settings, as well as the proper composition of crime scene photographs.

Photography - Examination Quality & Low-Light

This course is designed for individuals who are tasked with using a DSLR camera to properly capture images of impression evidence (fingerprints, footwear, tire tracks, etc.) as well as capturing a crime scene in sub-optimal lighting conditions (typically at night).

Photography - First Responder

This course is geared towards the patrol officer with the small, digital point-and-shoot camera; when the scene doesn't require advanced photography skills. Even in these scenarios, there is still a proper way to adequately document a crime scene. Proper photography skills are not only useful for the officer when creating their report, but these photographs also set the stage for everyone beyond the responding officer, including the attorneys, judges, and jurors. For these reasons, this type of photography should not be overlooked as a crucial element to an investigation.

Rules of Evidence & Expert Testimony

Being able to apply proper techniques is only a part of job. Considerations also have to be made regarding the legality of the evidence recovery and, ultimately, the defending of one's work/decisions in a court of law. The first half of this course sets the foundation for court rulings that apply specifically to crime scene investigation and evidence recovery. The second half of the course outlines various techniques that will be helpful to use when testifying in front of a judge or jury, along with the psychology that goes into courtroom testimony and testifying as an expert witness.

Sexual Assault Investigations

Sexual assault investigations provide a unique set of circumstances. Investigators need to be aware of the nuances associated with this type of investigation and what potential evidence may be located, and where. Persons processing plays a major role in these types of investigations, so it is imperative that investigators understand who is qualified to process a victim vs. who is qualified to process a suspect and what types of evidence will be searched for and collected.

Sketching & Diagramming

Sketching a scene may seem like an old-school method, but if your agency can't afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a fancy laser, sketching is still the most accurate way to depict items of evidence and their surrounding environment. The art of sketching will be reinforced in this course, focusing on various methods of measuring and when each method is most applicable. The course will feature a lecture, followed by hands-on exercises to reinforce the concepts outlined.