Category Archives: Training

NFSTC partner FIC wins coveted Brandon Hall award

The Forensic Innovation Center, LLC (FIC), a partner firm of NFSTC, along with Sealund and Associates, has been selected by Brandon Hall to receive the silver Excellence in Technology award for Best Advance in Gaming or Simulation Technology.

The project selected for award is Sensitive Site Exploitation (SSE) Training, a computer/web-based program that uses virtual reality, gaming-style simulations to assist military personnel in learning to identify and collect forensic evidence on the battlefield. Developed and designed for the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO), Technical Support Working Group (TSWG), the training uses immersive, 3-D simulated environments to provide safe, realistic situations in which users can practice the skills learned throughout the course.

FIC developed the training program and selected Sealund and Associates to produce the 3-D simulations. The goal of the program is to increase knowledge retention of military users by providing simulated environments with increasing levels of complexity. The scenarios represent real-world situations personnel will likely encounter once deployed.

More information on the Brandon Hall Excellence in Technology awards can be found at Advance in Gaming or Simulation Technology

ROTC cadets finish Forensics and Biometrics Internship

Congratulations to the 2013 class of Army ROTC cadets for completing the rigorous, two-week Forensics and Biometrics Internship at NFSTC. The internship featured hands-on exercises using real-world battlefield scenarios. Cadets learned useful career skills such as leadership, decision-making, and prioritizing actions under pressure. For more images of the cadets in action, visit the photo gallery on NFSTC’s Facebook page.

Cadets practicing with alternate light sources during biological screening exercises.
During final scenario exercises, cadets put their skills to the test documenting evidence.
Using hot air, cadets lifted microchips from cell phone SIM cards, a method used in digital forensics.

Online Intermediate CSI course now available

Intermediate Crime Scene Investigation provides expanded skills and knowledge for investigators, students interested in pursuing forensic science, corrections agencies, death investigators, tribal agencies and anyone interested in more advanced evidence collection techniques.

The intermediate course goes beyond the basics to cover situations investigators don’t see every day. Without the necessary skills and awareness, critical evidence could be lost. Some of the most popular topics in this course are:

• Casting footwear under water (submerged or partially submerged)
• Lifting fingerprints from skin
• Bloodstain/blood pattern analysis documentation
• Footwear and tire track measurement and photography

The course even includes do-it-yourself experiment ideas to help students or agency teams practice new skills.

More than 300 professionals have taken this course, which includes eight modules on specialized evidence recovery techniques, field testing, documentation, forensic light sources, evidence submission and analysis, evidence prioritization, and a scenario-based knowledge check. A pre-test helps students evaluate their improvement.

Improve your skills using affordable and effective online training.  Learn more about Intermediate CSI.

NFSTC hosts STEM students for career exploration

STEM TEC tour 2013
A student tries his hand with cell phone forensics

What kind of evidence can be pulled from a cell phone? Can you really pull fingerprints off of paper? How can police officers tell if substances may be drugs or explosives before they send samples to the lab? Pinellas County STEM TEC students had the chance to learn the answers to these questions and explore forensic techniques at NFSTC on June 27th.

Nearly 40 high school students spent the morning in the NFSTC training warehouse as part of the 2013 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 fourth year, NFSTC has opened its training facility to students for hands-on instruction on various forensic science and crime scene investigation topics.

This year, students participated in a mini-course on chemistry field technologies and the High Tech Crime Institute presented fascinating information about cell phone forensics and data extraction. Students also had the opportunity to try various fingerprinting techniques.

“Understanding how to apply science and math knowledge is critical today. Increasingly, jobs are very high tech and the students need to be knowledgeable in

STEM students experiment with chemical detection tools.

the subjects, then be able to apply what they know,” says Kevin Lothridge, CEO of NFSTC. “The key to getting kids interested is getting them engaged, and that’s what we like about the STEM TEC program. Their career opportunities can be fantastic.”

The 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.

One teacher wrote to say thanks:

Once again, our students had nothing but good things to say about our field trip. I was very impressed to, as was the rest of the staff. I liked the various sessions. They were long enough to pique the students’ interest and give them some good hands-on.

Trish Spencer, Lead Teacher, Junior Achievement Clearwater

For more information on the STEM TEC program, visit

NFSTC’s live exploitation demo at SOFIC

NFSTC provided an expeditionary site exploitation demonstration at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) in Tampa, FL on May 15. The SOFIC conference offers opportunities for defense providers and special operations program managers to gather and share ideas.

The demonstration scenario was one faced by soldiers far too often, and increasingly by domestic law enforcement as well: a car bomb. In the scenario, operatives had retrieved a detonation device and unknown powders from a car. As the NFSTC team demonstrated how field intelligence information can be gathered by a well trained team in very little time using portable technologies.

First, the detonation device, a cell phone, was photographed and swabbed for DNA. This would normally be done after the phone is stripped of digital evidence.

Latent prints were discovered on the phone and the car door and developed using spray fingerprint power. The advantages of the powder are that far less powder needs to be used, even in windy conditions, resulting in a cleaner work area and better print visibility.

Next, the prints were lifted using tape and photographed for enrollment in biometric databases.

Once the biometric information was removed, the next team member used an Elite 100 chemical detection device (Field Forensics) to swab the phone for explosive residue, which was positively identified as TNT. In addition, the unknown powder was identified as ammonium nitrate by using the TruDefender spectrometer (Thermo Scientific).

In less than 15 minutes, our well-trained team triaged evidence, gathered biometric and chemical evidence and prepared a preliminary report for the next investigation steps.

See more here:
The Tampa Tribune covered NFSTC and field technologies (second clip in the video):

Defense Media Network has posted video of the demonstration: