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A - Professional Communication and Conduct Program

Cognitive and Human Factors in Forensic Decision Making

Class Code: 
A180

Subject Area:

Class Location: 
Various
Class Description: 

*DESCRIPTION: The course covers brain and cognitive issues relating to forensic science. It then connects the cognitive issues to practical and specific issues in forensic decision making. In addition to knowledge about the cognitive factors in forensic decision making, the course also provides practical solutions to address weaknesses as well as best practices to enhance forensic practices. More details are available at: www.cci-hq.com

*INTENDED AUDIENCE: This course is aimed at forensic examiners, quality assurance units, crime scene investigators, and managers across the forensic science domains. The training program is appropriate for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level staff.

*ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Itiel Dror is a cognitive neuroscientist who received his Ph.D. at Harvard in the area of cognitive factors in human expert performance. Since his Ph.D he has been researching this area, and has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles specifically looking at cognitive factors that mediate human expert performance. His insights and understanding of the human brain and cognitive system underpin the class. Without such deep knowledge, it is not possible to properly deliver a class on the ‘cognitive and human factors’. Over the last decade Dr. Dror has worked with a variety of forensic laboratories across the US (and other countries), in which he has visited and shadowed examiners doing casework and reviewed SOPs and practices. Dr. Dror was the Chair of the OSAC Human Factor group and a member of the National Commission on Forensic Science Human Factors subcommittee. The recommendations on cognitive and human factors of the NCFS and the NAS & PCAST reports, as well as other bodies, is substantially based on the research and work of Dr. Dror. More information is available at www.cci-hq.com

The success of his courses and his training in this area has been recognized by a variety of forensic labs and professional bodies. For example, Dr. Dror has received the Association of Business Psychology’s Annual Award for 'Excellence in Training' for his courses on cognitive and human factors in forensic decision making. The purpose of the award is to recognize excellence in demonstrating how applying an understanding of the science of human behavior can impact and deliver practical value to organizations. The association commented that Dr. Dror's workshops are, "A highly rigorous application of relevant theoretical frameworks", "Truly innovative, breaking entirely new ground in a most challenging context", and "Entirely focused on application of conceptual models – underpinned by deep research".

Instructor: 
Dr. Itiel Dror, Cognitive Consultants International
Teaching Methods: 
Interactive presentations, with discipline specific examples and illustrations, as well as engaging exercises.
Objectives: 
* Provide background information regarding the human mind and cognitive system. * Detailing of how decisions are made * Connecting between cognitive issues and a variety of forensic decision making process that forensic examiners typically use * Understanding how to avoid pitfall in forensic decision making and how to utilize cognitive factors to enhance forensic experts' work
Prerequisites: 
The course is intended for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level staff across the forensic disciplines
Preparation: 
Participants will be given an opportunity to request certain issues and topcs be covered in the class, so as to make make the class covers topics of interest and relevance to the participants. Optional reading materials will also be provided to participants.
Tuition: 
No cost to POST supported or State of California based Law Enforcement agencies. A $240.00 tuition fee will be required of all other public agency, private sector, or out-of-state applicants.

Course Contact:

More Information: 

More information about the class can be found at www.cci-hq.com

Forensic Statistics

Class Code: 
A200

Subject Area:

Class Location: 
Various
Class Description: 

Class is three (3) days of lectures and hands-on exercises with the open-source R/RStudio software and custom software written in R by Dr. Petraco for the course. Course is intended for all forensic disciplines outside of DNA and will include: An introduction common statistical terminology; conducting or evaluating a statistical study; sampling strategies; histograms and the meaning of probability densities/distributions; common ways to summarize data; common summaries of variation, and “Frequentist” vs. “Bayesian” philosophies of probability.

Instructor: 
Dr. Nicholas D.K. Petraco
Objectives: 
The purpose of this hands-on course is to acquaint forensic practitioners with statistical methods that are applicable to evidence they encounter, as well as issues and pitfalls to be aware of when applying these methods. The focus of the course will be on statistical methods used to analyze data derived from forensic disciplines other than DNA; e.g., firearms and impression evidence, trace evidence, controlled substances, and toxicology.
Preparation: 
Forensic scientists should be familiar with statistical methods of data analysis.
Tuition: 
No cost to POST supported or State of California based Law Enforcement agencies. A $360.00 tuition fee will be required of all other public agency, private sector, or out-of-state applicants.

Course Contact:

More Information: 

Ethics in Forensic Science

Class Code: 
A130

Subject Area:

Class Location: 
Various
Class Description: 

This one-day (eight-hour) course focuses on the practical application of forensic science ethics codes to ethical dilemmas encountered in forensic science. It also offers insight into the enforcement and background of ethics codes. The course provides tools to readily access the content of over three dozen forensic science ethics documents from around the world. Students apply that content to realistic scenarios encountered in forensic science and discuss their results with the class. Lecture materials offer insight into the role of morals, purposes of ethics documents, character traits that could factor into unethical conduct, historical background, enforcement policies, encountering unethical conduct, filing an ethics complaint, being the subject of an ethics allegation, the role of ethics in cognitive bias, lawyer’s ethics, and discovery rules. The target audience is individuals who work with evidence in traditional crime laboratory disciplines or who teach in a forensic science program (e.g., criminalists, latent print examiners, questioned document examiners, evidence technicians, and forensic science educators). Class size is limited to fifteen students. POST Plan IV Reimbursement.

Instructor: 
Carolyn Gannett
Teaching Methods: 
Classroom lectures, class discussions, and small-group practical exercises.
Objectives: 
Students will be required to become familiar with the content of forensic science ethics documents from around the world and to complete practical exercises in applying that knowledge to realistic ethical dilemmas.
Preparation: 
Prior to class, students must submit a short scenario (about one paragraph) describing an ethical dilemma in forensic science. The submitter shall redact any identifying information. The instructor will not link student names to those submissions that are used in class.
Tuition: 
No cost to POST-supported or State of California based law enforcement agencies. A $120.00 tuition fee will be required for all other public agency, private sector, or out-of-state applicants. Make check(s) payable to the California Department of Justice.

Course Contact:

More Information: 

Technical Writing for the Criminalist

Class Code: 
A120

Subject Area:

Class Location: 
Various
Class Description: 

A three-day (24-hour) course teaching clarity in technical writing with emphases on organization, sentence structure, grammar, word usage, and punctuation. Each class is limited to 12 students. POST reimbursement for Plan IV.

Instructor: 
Ann Neumann, MA, JD
Teaching Methods: 
A blend of lecture, class discussion, and individual and group work (24 hours); homework assignment for instructor to read and respond to with individual comments for correction and revision.
Objectives: 
Scientific English: A Guide for Scientists and Other Professionals by Robert A. Day, Oryx Press, 1996. A Writer's Reference by Diana Hacker, Bedford, St. Martin's.
Preparation: 
Pre-course reading materials may be assigned and student will be expected to provide exemplar reports.
Tuition: 
No cost to POST supported or State of California based Law Enforcement agencies. A $360.00 tuition fee will be required of all other public agency, private sector, or out-of-state applicants.

Course Contact:

More Information: 

Presentation of DNA Evidence in Court

Class Code: 
A109

Subject Area:

Class Location: 
Various
Class Description: 

This 2-day (16-hour) course is intended for criminalists with prior training and qualifications in forensic DNA analysis, such as casework, missing persons, or data bank programs, who are or may be called to testify in court. The first day will have detailed presentations on the courtroom process followed by presentations on courtroom style and strategies. The second day will be dedicated to moot court exercises. Students will be asked to bring examples of their work that will be used to make direct and cross examinations relevant to their current analytical work. Each class is limited to 12 students.

Instructor: 
Michael Chamberlain, California Department of Justice
Teaching Methods: 
Classroom lectures on Day 1. During Day 2, moot court for each student, consisting of a 15-20 minute moot court, followed by feedback and follow-up moot court. Students will be required to provide an updated CV and a laboratory report for training purposes.
Objectives: 
Students will be required to demonstrate their proficiency in providing testimony in a moot court setting.
Prerequisites: 
At least six months experience as a forensic or law enforcement specialist who might be called as a witness for the court.
Preparation: 
Pre-course reading materials.
Tuition: 
No cost to California public crime laboratory personnel. A $240.00 tuition fee is required for all other public agencies, private sector, or out of state applicants.

Course Contact:

More Information: 

Presentation of Courtroom Evidence

Class Code: 
A103

Subject Area:

Class Location: 
Various
Class Description: 

This two-day (16-hour) course focuses not so much on technical issues, but rather on communication methods employed by expert witnesses for effective testimony. The two-day workshop uses video taping and solid constructive critiquing. Throughout the workshop, participants will learn and practice the key elements to improve their overall testifying skills and become more confident. Witness effectiveness is increased by enhancing positive skills and modifying subconscious behaviors that interfere with the goal of successful public speaking. This is intended for criminalists, toxicologists, latent print and questioned document examiners, investigators, crime scene and identification technicians, and law enforcement specialists called to testify in court (applies for all levels of experience). 

Instructor: 
Mel Cavanaugh
Teaching Methods: 
Classroom lectures, student presentations and viewing of recorded testimony from criminal trial.
Objectives: 
Students will be required to present their qualifications, give presentations and provide testimony on an actual case that either they or a colleague has worked
Prerequisites: 
While previous court testimony experience is useful , attendees need not have any prior court appearances.
Preparation: 
Before the start of the class, the students will provide a sample report to be used in the testimony portion of the class. Also, students will wear appropriate court attire to class.
Materials Fee: 
$0
Tuition: 
No cost to POST supported or State of California based Law Enforcement agencies. A $240.00 tuition fee will be required of all other public agency, private sector, or out-of-state applicants.

Course Contact:

More Information: 

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