The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, National Firearms Examiner Academy (NFEA)

Letter from: Glen T. Beach, Laboratory Coordinator ATF National Firearms Examiner Academy National Firearms Examiner Academy ATF Forensic Science Laboratory – Washington 6000 Ammendale Road Ammendale, Maryland 20705 The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, National Firearms Examiner Academy (NFEA), announces the Class 2004 student application process. The NFEA is designed to provide firearm and toolmark-related training to federal, state and local apprentice/entry level firearm and toolmark examiners. This program consists of four phases and encompasses a one-year time period. In order to be considered for entry into the NFEA, applicants must possess an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited academic institution with major course work in a science-related field. Applicants must also be assigned as a full time firearm/toolmark examiner trainee under the direction of a qualified trainer in a recognized law enforcement forensic laboratory. Target applicants include those who have been in a formal laboratory training program for a term not exceeding one year. Applications must be postmarked no later than Friday, February 6, 2004. All applications must be mailed to the above address, attention: Glen Beach or NFEA. Faxed copies will not be accepted. Class 2004 will consist of fourteen (14) firearm and toolmark examiner trainees, with one alternate position. The alternate would be inserted into one of the fourteen regular student slots, should an opening become available. If not needed to fill a regular position, the alternate will be enrolled in the Class 2005 Academy. NFEA Staff and representatives from ATF Training & Professional Development will determine student selection. Selectees will be notified in mid-March. Phase I of the Academy involves approximately four months of in-house assignments. This “Pre-Course” phase includes written administrative/protocol rules and regulations as they pertain to each examiner’s individual laboratory; research papers in the fields of black powder, evolution of early firearms and modern ammunition development; and the history, principles, equipment and current developments in the field of Firearms Identification. Most, but not all, of the materials needed to complete these assignments will be provided to the student by Academy staff. However, each student will be required to conduct research and gather additional references in order to complete the assignments. This phase is labor intensive – thirty to forty hours per week may be needed to complete assignments. The proposed start date for Phase I is April 1, 2004. Each block of assignments in this phase must be completed in a timely fashion in order to be reviewed and graded by Academy staff. Phase II of the Academy will be held at the ATF Forensic Science Laboratory – Washington, located in the Washington, DC suburb of Ammendale, Maryland. The tentative starting date for this phase is July 26, 2004. The Academy runs for approximately fifteen consecutive weeks, with a conclusion of this phase targeted for mid-November. The “Hands- On” phase is designed to be in classroom and laboratory settings. Students will participate in group and individual activities, practical exercises, written examinations, tours of ammunition, firearm and tool manufacturers, and local museums. Details of the blocks of training in this phase will be available for review prior to the beginning of Phase I for selected students. During Phase II of the Academy, students will be housed at a local suite-style hotel or apartment complex. Lodging, as well as full per diem and travel, will be provided by ATF. Each student must arrange for local transportation while at the Academy, although area hotels typically provide local shuttle service, and Metro subway system is located throughout the DC area. Phase III involves approximately a three-month time frame and is designed for students to complete pre-approved research projects and practical exercises intended for moot court testimonies for Phase IV. These areas of required assignments will be conducted at the students’ individual laboratories. The NFEA Staff will provide all practical exercise ‘evidence’ cases to students. These cases must be completed in timely manner. The final segment, Phase IV, consists of a two-week “Follow-Up” program held in the Washington, DC area. This module involves research project presentation, and moot court training and testimony in a courtroom setting. The projected date for Phase IV will be in March 2005. Graduation ceremonies from the NFEA immediately follow the completion of the follow-up program. For additional information and inquiries regarding NFEA Class 2004, please contact Sheila Hopkins at (240) 264-1477, or call me direct at (240) 264-3849, or e-mail at glen.beach@atf.gov. Glen T. Beach, Laboratory Coordinator ATF National Firearms Examiner Academy