published: Friday, November 16, 2012
LPPD's Williams, HCSO's Fennell acquire certifications
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING -- Two of Highlands County's law enforcement officers have recently been awarded as certified crime scene investigators by the world's leading forensic science and identification association, the International Association for Identification.
Lake Placid Police Chief Phil Williams and Highlands County Sheriff's Office Detective Jeff Fennell obtained their certification in crime scene investigation on Nov. 1. Williams and Fennell have long been acquaintances and enrolled in the course together, which required a minimum of one year of "crime scene-related activities."
Williams, who has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience, has always found the area of crime scene investigation one of his favorite parts of law enforcement.
"My entire career, I've sort of leaned toward crime scene," said Williams. "I always find myself coming back to it and in a small department like ours you have to be hands on and wear a lot of hats."
Williams is the only LPPD officer certified in crime scene investigation. The seven full-time employees at the department each play a vital role in the day-to-day running of the department.
Fennell has worked with the HCSO for the past 14 years in a number of fields. He has served both as a road patrol deputy and an evidence technician. Fennell became a part of the crime scene unit several years ago and remains there today.
The certification will enhance the abilities of the officers providing more credibility and expertise to any crime scene. Both Fennell and Williams spent several days in St. Petersburg preparing for the lengthy examination, which covered topics ranging from bloodstain patterns to fingerprinting.
"It wasn't a fun time," said Williams with a laugh. "We were there for four days and it was some intensive studying."
The hard work paid off when both Fennell and Williams passed the exam with flying colors and were awarded their certifications as crime scene investigators.
"It is imperative that our members stay current on all matters related to their profession," Sheriff Susan Bebtib said "Crime scene investigation is such a specific element in crime solving and our members are so dedicated to this community that they take seriously their training and certifications.
"Thank you Detective Fennell for your willingness to serve our community at this advanced level."
Chief Deputy Mark Schrader added, "Jeff's experience, training, expertise, education and certifications in the area of crime scene investigations makes him a valuable and respected resource within the Sheriff's Office, in assisting our deputies and in particular our detectives in solving crimes."
With the enhancement of their skills already in place, the two officers learned a number of other skills during their certification courses, including analysis and reconstruction, photography, video, footwear, forensic art, fingerprinting, bloodstain patterns and more.
"Both he (Fennell) and I have learned a lot of skills. We've added a lot of additional skills to the tool box, as we call it. Now when we need those skills at a crime scene or during a possible testimony we can just reach in and pull them out. In this field ,you are always staying educated and up to date on things.
"This is just another enhancement to everything we already know and do."
LPPD Chief? (by: Concerned citizen - 11/16/2012)
Why did the Lake Placid Chief attend? Does he actually process crime scenes? And by the way who paid for the school?
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