KNOXVILLE (WATE) – This week the University of Tennessee Forensic Anthropology Center is partnering with FBI agents from all over the country for a training field course to teach the agents how to identify important things like time or death or how to identify someone at a crime scene.
Forty different FBI agents from all around the country were at the center Thursday, commonly known as the Body Farm. FBI Special Agent Leslie Kopper says this type of hands-on training will help them identify what would be of value at a crime scene. For instance, bones and a skull could determine time of death.
“Many of us have already been on scenes like this, or may encounter scenes where we’re doing recovery from maybe a kidnapping, maybe a homicide on national land or something like that,” said Kopper. “What they’re teaching us is the differences between maybe a bone or stone or a rock, a rib bone versus a tree branch or something like that. But again we wouldn’t be making those identifications. We would be hopefully recognizing what would be of evidentiary value on a scene.”
The agents also practice these techniques in different conditions they might encounter.
“I am in Colorado, for instance, and we also have Wyoming. It might be winter conditions. We might have snow and ice and the recovery might be vastly different from somebody in New Orleans, that might be in a city situation,” Kopper said.
Supervisor Agent Marshall Stone says the weeklong training is vital for several reasons.
“We’ve been coming out here for 17 years now and it’s very practical experience,” he said. “There’s lots of opportunities for them such as fingerprinting, DNA, processing a mass disaster crime scene and they take that training back to their offices.”
Thursday’s field work was part of a short course that took place all week. The agents will finish their training on Friday.