All posts by C Vivian

New Classes: Essentials of CSI Training

NFSTC e-learning_imageThis training program is designed to introduce law enforcement personnel to the fundamental principles of crime scene investigation, including techniques used to recover a variety of high value items of evidence. The 40 hour course includes 16 hours of prerequisite online theoretical course work and 24 hours of hands‐on instructor led practical activities conducted at NFSTC, in Largo, FL. Participants will be required to complete online course work, assignments and assessments prior to attending the onsite practical instruction.

Who should attend?

  • Newly-assigned crime scene investigators
  • CSI examiners with less than 3 years crime scene investigation experience who have not attended a formal crime scene training course
  • Law enforcement first responders

 Applications are being accepted for April/May training sessions and must be submitted by 11:59pm EST on Sunday, March 7, 2010.

Click here for full details.

NFSTC earns honors in Ultimate Management Team awards

LARGO, Florida (December, 2009) – The National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) executive team was recognized by the Tampa Bay Business Journal as one of the area’s top management teams. CEO Kevin Lothridge, COO David Epstein and Chief Projects Officer David Sylvester accepted the award at the Journal’s event in early December.  NFSTC took the 5th spot in a field of 20 finalists. The current management team has worked together since 2003 and has led the organization to new success levels over the past three years.

Selections were based on the organizations achievements and growth in multiple areas.  NFSTC’s highlights include:

Year Over Year Financial Performance and Job Growth

By continually pursuing new business opportunities that fit with NFSTC’s core competencies and partnering with organizations that complement NFSTC’s capabilities, this forward-looking management team has created a flexible organization that can rapidly adjust to the needs of its growing customer base. In addition to providing services to public crime laboratories, NFSTC now serves law enforcement (crime scene, homicide and cold case investigators), medical examiners/coroners and the military. As a result, year over year financial performance and job growth has been significant.

Employee Retention

The NFSTC Executive team is committed to providing the type of work environment that attracts a wide variety of talented professionals.  NFSTC’s rich employment package includes employer paid health benefits and retirement contributions, as well as wellness and professional development benefits beyond what a small organization normally provides.  Overall retention rates of greater than 92% reflect the outstanding results of these efforts.

Creation of a Track Record

Over the years, NFSTC has developed and delivered high quality, well-received projects that have resulted in the creation of a successful track record that opens doors to repeat business and new opportunities.  Sample projects include training and field implementation products:

  • National Missing and Unidentified Persons System ( – for law enforcement, medical examiners/coroners and the general public
  • Forensic Information Data Exchange (FIDEX) – for law enforcement, laboratories and the courts
  • Field Investigation Drug Officer (FIDO) – for law enforcement
  • Quality Documents Program – for forensic laboratories
  • Firearm Examiner Training
  • Trace Evidence and Homicide Investigation Symposiums
  • Collecting DNA Evidence at Property Crime Scenes
  • Principles of Forensic DNA for Officers of the Court
  • DNA Analyst Training

External Branding

With the size and reach of NFSTC expanding from a fairly narrow scientific audience to a much broader base of forensic service providers, it became clear that the organization’s external branding needed to be repositioned. The executive team designated this as a priority item when expanding the staffing levels in 2008 and built an in-house team to not only re-brand, but establish a full communications strategy, brand, Web site, materials and supporting items to create and maintain a system that supports the wider customer base and prospects being developed.

The story can be found at

NFSTC adds dates to the Forensic Biological Screening Workshop series

The National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC), sponsored by the National Institute of Justice, is hosting a series of Forensic Biology Screening Workshops.   The target audience for these workshops is crime scene investigators in training, or with less than one year of experience. Candidates with more experience would be selected on a case-by-case basis and as space allows. 

A series of these workshops will be held at the NFSTC in Largo, FL (Tampa Bay area). The next workshop will be held:

  • January 11-15, 2010
  • February 1-5, 2010
  • March 8-12, 2010
  • April 12-16, 2010

This workshop is hosted by the NFSTC at no cost to participants or their agencies.  Travel arrangements and hotel accommodations are included and participants will be reimbursed at the standard government per diem for the duration of the workshop.

The workshop curriculum includes a written and a practical assessment.  A certificate of completion will be awarded to participants who pass both evaluations. Participants not passing one or both of the evaluations will receive a certificate of attendance.

Workshop attendees must agree to the following:

  • Participate fully in class discussions.
  • Participate fully in laboratory exercises.
  • Participate in written and practical assessments.

To nominate a representative(s) from your agency, please visit   



NFSTC recognized for contributions to forensic science

David Epstein, Kevin Lothridge and Dave Sylvester, executive team at NFSTC, with the 2009 IACP August Vollmer Award for Contributions to Forensic Science.
David Epstein, Kevin Lothridge and Dave Sylvester, executive team at NFSTC, with the 2009 IACP August Vollmer Award for Contributions to Forensic Science.

The National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) was presented with the August Vollmer Excellence in Forensic Science Award for contributions to forensic science at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) at their annual conference in Denver earlier this month.  The organization’s program of making deployable forensic laboratories available to agencies and laboratories around the country was selected for this distinct honor. 

Due to the nature of forensic analysis, any loss of operational time can create a significant backlog of casework affecting court schedules, local law enforcement processes and public safety. Deployable forensic laboratories are an innovative and efficient way to provide expansion in emergency or combat situations, or temporary replacement of forensic analysis capabilities after a natural disaster or other crisis.  One of the organization’s six deployable laboratories is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, replacing facilities that were damaged by last year’s catastrophic flooding.  That community’s forensic service unit was in the basement of the police department and was destroyed. The deployable laboratory is providing work space while facilities are rebuilt.

NFSTC developed the laboratories in partnership with the Department of Defense and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to make these capabilities available to local or national forces when needed.

The labs provide expandable facilities free of charge to the agency in need, support that comes through a grant from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). DTRA previously funded the development, integration, test, and delivery of the mobile forensic laboratories, which are operated and maintained by NFSTC and NIJ provides the funding required to maintain the units. Two other laboratories are currently in service with the Michigan State Police to assist them in continuing operations while they secure new permanent laboratory space. 

The IACP recognizes the significant impact forensic science has on the criminal justice system and has established the August Vollmer Excellence in Forensic Science Award to honor the proactive, innovative use of forensic technologies by law enforcement.