Crime Scene Technician Rebecca Wendt of the Bryan Police Department has been awarded the first Forensic Investigator I certificate from the Texas Forensic Science Academy, which is operated by TEEX.
She completed the first course in the Forensic Investigator I curriculum shortly after she joined the Bryan Police Department in 2007 as an Investigative Assistant with the Criminal Investigations Division. “I assisted with the Crime Scene Unit when needed,” she recalls. “I loved the crime scene aspect of my duties and transferred to the Crime Scene Unit full time in October 2008.”
Wendt credits the Forensic Science Academy with providing her “foundation of forensics training.” After that first course, she went on to complete the 200 hours of training needed to earn the certificate. Her two favorite courses were Forensic Photography I and Courtroom Testimony.
“I started out as a new crime scene technician and received on-the-job training, but I lacked the formal training needed to work the crime scenes,” sahd said. “TEEX’s Forensic Science Academy has provided me with that aspect of training that I needed, and it has taken me from assisting the Crime Scene Unit to serving as lead investigator on major cases, such as homicide. All of the courses are top-of-the-line’ courses that have and will enhance my job performance. And TEEX has provided quality equipment, props and resources for the attendees.”
The Crime Scene Investigator is one of three certificate program offered by the Texas Forensic Science Academy. Wendt earlier earned the first certificate: Forensic Technician, and is working toward the Forensic Investigator II certificate. Bryan Police Chief Eric Buske and other BPD officials attended the presentation ceremony for Wendt’s latest achievement.
“The goal of the Forensic Science Academy is to get quality forensic training out to practitioners in the field, especially practitioners in small and mid-size agencies,” said Christine Ramirez, Forensic Science Academy Coordinator. “Participants are receiving quality forensics training here and when they come out on the other side, it is going to help them professionally and enhance their credibility when they are called to the stand to testify.”
The program is geared toward investigators or those tasked with investigative duties, but everyone in law enforcement may need to function as an investigator, Ramirez said. “Forensics training is one of the most expensive programs we put on and we’ve been able to offset some of the costs with General Revenue from the Texas Legislature,” she added.
“The Forensic Science Academy is a program that every CSI and investigator should experience,” Wendt said. “These courses really open your eyes to the profession and will have you leaving the class each day amazed at the knowledge you’ve gained This training has been the foundation of my knowledge of being a Crime Scene Investigator.”