June 18, 2009

Sheriffs Department Receiving Crime Scene Investigation Training

CSI Memphis? While the popular television program expanded into spin-offs CSI Miami and CSI New York, the Memphis, Missouri version likely isnt coming to anyones TV set anytime soon. That hasnt stopped the Scotland County Sheriffs Department from studying up on the subject of crime scene investigations (CSI) even if it isnt for future roles on the hit series.

Sheriff Wayne Winn and members of his department completed a four-hour training session last week on forensic evidence and will complete an additional four hours of course work this week.

I have set through a lot of training courses, but this has been one of the most impressive and undoubtedly one of the most worthwhile, Winn said.

The sheriff praised instructor Chris Koffman, a reserve deputy with the Van Buren County Sheriffs Department, Koffman, a retired lieutenant from the Bettendorf, IA, Police Department, is a certified forensics technician. He manages the crime lab for the Van Buren County law enforcement agencies.

Koffman focused on fingerprints during the initial training session, instructing the officers in a variety of methods to recover the key pieces of evidence. The second workshop will center around gathering DNA evidence.

The instructor stressed the correct procedures for preserving and processing finger print evidence providing numerous hands on demonstrations.

We now have our own fuming chamber thanks to this training, Winn stated.

This new tool will insure the preservation of finger print evidence. The chamber is used to enclose a piece of evidence containing a suspects fingerprint(s). A heat source is used to vaporize super glue in the chamber, which then adheres to the fingerprint, insuring it can not be disturbed during transport to a finger print laboratory or for presentation as evidence at trial.

Winn noted this was just one of the many improvements he hopes to make with the department following the training.

We definitely are looking into upgrading our equipment to allow us to better use of finger prints and DNA evidence in our investigations, he stated. Hopefully these new tools will aid us in solving more crimes.

In addition to the training, Winn noted the classes had created an excellent working relationship with Koffman. The sheriff was happy to find another resource closer to home, to aid his department in processing fingerprints.

Right now there is as much as a six-month backlog on getting fingerprints and other forensic evidence processed at our state labs, Winn said. Chris has volunteered to help us anytime we need an expert opinion to help us compare prints and verify matches.

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