Often in this newscast, we show you different crime scenes, and the technicians from the National Forensic Science Service doing their jobs.
They're usually the ones retrieving expended bullet shells, putting down evidence markers, and taking photographs. All of these items are usually tendered as evidence which criminal prosecutors rely on to build their cases.
It's a process that is central to criminal prosecutions, but often training is inadequate. But now, the US Embassy is facilitating long term training which will bring them up to standards used in the American Police Departments.
We got a chance to meet the trainer Hayden Baldwin. He told us about 10 month course that the personnel at the Forensics Science Service will undergo:
Hayden Baldwin, Scenes of Crime Trainer
"Scenes of crimes technician is going to received a level of training above what they currently have and that level will take them to international standards. In order to accomplish that, that will take about 1 year of training. I will be here for 2 weeks each month for the next year to go through a very intense and long training that is going to challenge them to make sure that they are the forensics experts that they will become. We are looking at photography, latent work, latent meaning the fingerprints, palm prints, shoe impressions, going into impression evidence which is shoe prints, tire tracks, bite marks, tool marks then into biological and trace evidence where they will be able to use forensics light sources to look for bodily fluids at the crime scenes. Trace evidence that can be recovered and taken to the forensics laboratory for analysis and then into changing the way that they write their reports make crime scene sketches and the reading of a crime scene. Also part of that is the interpretation of a scene. They will be using equipment they do not currently have. The equipment will be hopefully purchased in the future, so they will have it to use after their training is completed and its the same type of equipment they currently have, it's just a different more professional models of it."
David Henderson Sr. - Executive Director - National Forensic Science Service
"All the persons that are doing this training are from the scenes of crime unit because after the training we are expected that they will be moving to a different level. They will not be technicians again; they will be crime scene investigators. So all the personnel are on the training and they are expected to pass. Anybody that fails will not be able to be a part of the team."
Robert Gibson, US Embassy Rep.
"We are really proud to be working with the Belize government on this project and we are coordinating with them. We are providing supplies, materials; we provide the advisor in order to help develop this training which we expect will go on for all year."
"I think they do their job currently very well for what they have to work with. They are limited by equipment or limited by supplies. They are very limited by transportation to the scenes, so there is a definite limitation that they currently have. That will have to be resolved in order for them to go to the next level."
As noted in the interview, all the crime scene technicians will be required to take the course, and pass in order to keep working for the National Forensic Science Service. After the training is finished they will be known as Crime Scene Investigators.