Army ROTC cadets finish two-week forensic internship with a bang

Army ROTC cadets participating in NFSTC’s Forensics and Biometrics Internship wrapped up their stay on Friday with intensive, hands-on site exploitation exercises featuring scenarios derived from real battlefield experiences. The exercises provided the cadets with a unique opportunity to learn valuable skills in advance of their military careers. The skills include determining primary and secondary mission objectives, making decisions and prioritizing actions under pressure, understanding the probative value of evidence, managing detainees during a forensic search, and tactics for thoroughly documenting and searching a target site.

Cadets worked in teams to complete the site exploitation exercises, requiring them to demonstrate leadership abilities, personal responsibility, and adherence to overall mission objectives. Under the direction of coordinator Garry Ashton, each team reviewed the evidence they collected to determine what items were most valuable in achieving their objectives and, overall, how successfully they executed their mission.

Earlier in the week, the cadets received a visit from Colonel Peggy Combs, Deputy Commanding General of the United States Army Cadet Command. The colonel came to observe the cadets in action and get a feel for the value of the training to the overall ROTC program. Her visit corresponded with the course on improvised explosive device detection and investigation techniques, a highly relevant topic for current and future soldiers.

After spending some time with the cadets in the firing range, NFSTC CEO Kevin Lothridge said, “We’re fortunate to be able to offer this program; it’s unique and it’s visionary. This is an opportunity to engage future leaders at the beginning of their careers. These folks, if they choose intelligence, chemical or military police roles, will already have a foundation in forensics; skills that will prove invaluable in the field.”

Visit the ROTC Forensics and Biometrics Internship photo gallery on NFSTC’s Facebook page for more photos of the cadets as they progressed through the program.

Col. Peggy Combs (far left) pauses for a picture with the 2012 NFSTC forensic internship cadet class

ROTC cadets begin two-week forensics internship

NFSTC is hosting 12 Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets for two-weeks of instruction on forensic science and site exploitation at the NFSTC facility in Largo. This marks the fourth year NFSTC has provided this training and experience to ROTC cadets at no cost. With an ever growing need for battlefield forensics, this program aims to help cadets understand how the U.S. military uses forensic science to gather intelligence.

From July 16th through the 26th, these cadets from around the country will take part in classroom training, hands-on demonstrations and practical scenario-based exercises on crime scene investigation, photography, biological screening, improvised explosive device awareness, post-blast investigation, trace chemistry, firearms examination, fingerprinting, and basic digital forensics.

“NFSTC takes great pride in our country’s military forces and is happy to give something back in the form of this opportunity for ROTC cadets to experience battlefield forensics in a hands-on environment,” says NFSTC CEO Kevin Lothridge. “We hope the knowledge and experience they receive here has a positive impact and helps them in their careers.”

Cadets practice evidence photography.

NFSTC.org periodically unavailable Sunday, July 1

NFSTC will be performing network maintenance on Sunday, July 1. Our website, NSFTC.org,  may be periodically unavailable between the hours of 12:00 AM and noon EST. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.

STEM TEC students get hands-on experience with crime scene photography

On June 26th, NFSTC hosted nearly 50 high school students from Pinellas County as part of the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM), Training for Emerging Careers (TEC): Summer Career Institute. The program introduces students between the ages of 14 and 17 to STEM careers. For the third year, NFSTC has opened its training facility to students for hands-on tours and instruction on various forensic science and crime scene investigation topics.

This year, students participated in a mini-course on crime scene photography and the High Tech Crime Institute presented information about cell phone forensics. The tours culminated with several hands-on exercises in which the students learned to document the crime scene and evidence. The scenarios included:

  • Inspecting a vehicle at a border checkpoint
  • Investigating a breaking and entering
  • Documenting a clandestine lab

“Gaining a solid footing in science and math is critical for so many reasons. Jobs are going high-tech; take DNA or cybercrime for example,” says Kevin Lothridge, CEO of NFSTC. “The key to getting these kids interested in science is not scaring them with how complex an activity might be, it is getting them engaged, and that’s what we are doing with this event. And with so many new technologies on the horizon, opportunities for exciting careers will only grow.”

The STEM TEC program, developed by Junior Achievement and WorkNet Pinellas, provides career exploration and workplace readiness training to economically disadvantaged students through a four-week summer program and year-round engagements. The program includes employer site visits to gain job shadowing experience in STEM specific fields.

For more information on the STEM TEC program, visit www.worknetpinellas.org.

Forensic pathology fellows complete death investigation training

Investigating injuries at the scene of a hit-and-run accident.

Another successful capstone session for NIJ’s popular Medicolegal Death Investigation training course wrapped up on Thursday in Largo, FL, at the NFSTC training facility. Participants in the June 2012 class included forensic pathologists completing requirements for fellowship with the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME).

The full course included both online and instructor-led curriculum for topics such as digital photography, biological evidence, explosive residue, firearms, forensic odontology, toxicology and latent prints.The instructor-led portion of the course culminated with a series of hands-on mock death investigation scenarios that tested each participant’s knowledge and skills gained throughout the training.
Scenarios included varied accidental death and homicide scenes. NFSTC strives to provide realistic hands-on experiences for students, creating realistic environments that allow trainees to practice. 
Participants assessed each scene, documented the scene, analyzed potential evidence and prepared and presented a summary of their findings.
Crime scene mannequin staged in a homicide scenario.
NFSTC wishes participants well as they complete their fellowship requirements and advance in their careers.


This training is provided under NIJ cooperative Agreement Award (#2011-DN-BX-K568).