ATF National Firearms Examiner Academy Graduates Law Enforcement From Around the Country

Sep 23, 2011, 12:12 ET from Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) National Firearms Examiner Academy (NFEA) today graduated 12 law enforcement professionals from around the country following a year of  intensive training program.  The NFEA provides training for apprentice/entry-level firearm and tool mark examiners from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  The curriculum includes the fundamentals of firearm and tool mark examination and serves as the foundation for the trainees' supervised development into qualified firearm and toolmark examiners.

NFEA class 1101 graduates are: Christie Bonar, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, San Bernardino, Calif.; Marc Boudreau, New Orleans Police Department, New Orleans; Michelle Cazes, Louisiana State Police Crime Lab, Baton Rouge, La.; Stephen Chammoun, Valdosta Police Department, Valdosta, Ga.; Katelyn J. Crandell, Harris County Sheriff's Office, Houston; Janey Deimling, Ventura County Sheriff's Office Forensic Services Laboratory, Ventura, Calif.; Reynold Desouza, Virgin Island Police Department, Frederiksted, U.S. Virgin Islands; Derek Mears, Salt Lake City Police Department; Salt Lake City; Jessica Savopolos, California Department of Justice Bureau of Forensic Services, Fresno, Calif.; Steve Shinmei, Washoe County Sheriff's Office, Reno, Nev.; Tasha Smith, San Francisco Police Department, San Francisco; and Angela Stroman, California DOJ Bureau of Forensic Services, Redding, Calif.

"Completing the rigorous training requirements is indicative of the dedication of these graduates," said Richard Holgate, chief, ATF Office of Science and Technology.  "This unique training provides the graduates with a solid knowledge base and the fundamentals of firearm and toolmark examination which will make them more effective in law enforcement's commitment to combat violent crime nationwide."

The National Institute of Justice funded training is conducted in four phases during the course of one year, with students completing portions of the training in their home laboratory and at the ATF National Laboratory in Maryland. The NFEA provides trainees with their crucial first year of training through a standardized curriculum.

The graduating class began training in October 2010.  The course incorporated 18 modules of instruction including: laboratory protocol; safety and ethics; as well as, the standards that govern the admissibility of expert testimony in court. Students were trained in the history of black powder; the evolution of early firearms; modern ammunition and its evolution and manufacturing; and microscopy and instrumentation.  Other modules covered firearm identification; manufacturing of modern firearms; preliminary examination of firearms; bullet examination and comparison; tool mark examination, comparison and identification; restoration of obliterated markings; terminal ballistics; gunshot residue; shot patterns; bullet path analysis; and wound effects as well as the examination and comparison of cartridges; cartridge cases; shot shells; and fired shot shells.

Following successful completion of the NFEA and additional training by their home laboratory, graduates can independently and completely examine and compare physical evidence relating to firearms and toolmark identification; independently reach conclusions and render opinions relating to their examinations and comparisons; and provide expert testimony in a professional and impartial manner.

Since its 1999 inception, the NFEA had graduated 137 examiners, including today's students, from 43 states.

The next NFEA class will begin next month.

ATF is a law enforcement agency within the DOJ that is dedicated to preventing violent crime. For more information on ATF and its programs is available at

NOTE: To see a NBC on-line news story about the NFEA go to:

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SOURCE Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives