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GRIF'S ADVENTURES: BUENOS AIRES, PT 2

Presenting at the First Latin America IABPA Conference June 27-29, 2018


Monday (6/25)

Pablo Nunez, the conference organizer and an interpreter, took us (Andy Maloney and me) to the newest federal forensic laboratory in Argentina.  The laboratory is a spacious facility both in terms of current working space and room to expand.  While it is referred to as a chemical laboratory and that type of analysis is done there, other disciplines including DNA and crime scenes operate out of that building.  We had no idea what to expect other than a tour of the facility. 

Shortly after our arrival we found ourselves seated at a table speaking with not only the two directors of the facility but also with Comisario Mayor (Senior Commissioner) Javier Meregallit, the Director of all PFA Forensic Labs in Argentina!  All of the Argentine officials were wearing suits and ties and we were casually dressed.  Our guests made us feel most welcome and we were comfortable.

We also saw the exterior of Casa Rosada, which is on the east side of the Plaza de Mayo.  Casa Rosada is considered the center of Argentina’s government.  It was at one time the largest building in Buenos Aires.  Tourism sources state the pink color was chosen as a means to attempt political harmony.  Our local hosts told us the building at some point was painted with pigs blood by one of the country’s leaders many years ago.  The pink color was a means (also) of hiding the blood.  It sounds as if it could be the world record for a bloodstained area!

There was a national strike this Monday, so our walking tour of part of downtown was relatively free of crowds and traffic.  One downside was that many restaurants were closed and many taxis were out of service. 

We walked around the Plaza de Mayo, which has been the center of Buenos Aires since it was founded in 1580.  One of the sites was the Catedral  Metropolitana, Argentina’s main Catholic cathedral.  This was the church where the current pope spent much of his religious life while he was in Argentina.  It was built in 1580 and has undergone renovations several times since then.

Tuesday (6/26)

We visited the site of the conference (or congress, as it was called) so as to see the main presentation room and the rooms which would house the Friday workshops.  Late in the afternoon most of the speakers went on a guided tour of the federal congressional building.  We were able to walk into the congress room and be within a few feet of the desks at which the representatives sit while in session.  That is something that could never happen at the U.S. Congress or did not happen the last time I participated in a tour of that building.  At one time this building also housed a copy of every book published in Argentina.  Those books now reside in a library near the congressional building.

Wednesday (6/27)

 

 

Lunch was provided for the staff and speakers.  Two of the presenters after lunch had attended BGA BPA classes.  These were Christina Vazquez (Salt Lake City in 2017) who offered a case presentation and Soledad Aldao (Baton Rouge in 2014) who presented her study on stringing areas of origin for impact patterns.

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Soledad

Thursday (6/28)

The conference resumed at about 8:30 a.m. with both cases and research presentations.  I had the last presentation of the day showing case applications of bloodstain pattern analysis.  The conference closed at 6:50 p.m.

Friday (6/29)

The final day of the conference opened with Andy Maloney talking about the 2018 IABPA conference to be held in Ottawa, and Philippe Esperanca telling the attendees about the IABPA.  I lectured about BPA on clothing, which served as preparation for my workshop that day. 

After a vendor break, the first workshops began at 11:00 a.m.  The timing of the lunch break was up to those of us conducting the workshops.  The workshops continued the rest of the afternoon until about 6:00 p.m.

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One of the workshop participants was Patricio Leyenda (shown wearing the blue and black striped shirt).  He attended a BGA BPA class in Colorado Springs June 2018.

 

 

 

 

There were six teams involved in the clothing workshop and each team moved to a new set of clothing and case scenario after completing examination and documentation of one of the six sets.  Every team wanted a group picture at the completion of its last assignment.  At the end of a long day, these team photographs took on a less serious approach as one can see in a couple of the team photographs.

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I had to step away from the workshop for a brief interview with an Argentine journalist for which Soledad served as the interpreter.

The participants assembled in the main room at 6:30 for the official wrap up of the conference.  Several group photographs were taken at this time.

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Saturday & Sunday (June 26 & 27)

We did some last minute sight-seeing on Saturday prior to going to the Buenos Aires airport.  Two of us heading home to the U.S. had to deal with the airport being shut down for a few hours due to fog.  I was lucky in that my flight wasn’t cancelled, but its departure was delayed about five hours.  That meant missing my connecting flight in Houston on Sunday morning.  However, the airline did secure a seat on a flight in the middle of the afternoon.  When the adventure was over I had spent about 30 hours traveling to get back home!

 

My thanks to Pablo Nuñez for most of the photographs presented here.

-Grif

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HOST A COURSE WITH BGA

Bevel, Gardner & Associates is in the process of preparing our 2019 training schedule.  We are currently seeking agencies interested in hosting one or more of our courses: 

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis I & II
Crime Scene Reconstruction I & II
Shooting Incident Reconstruction
Crime Scene Processing I & II
Officer Involved Shooting and Critical Incident seminar
**NEW**  Shooting Incident Reconstruction II
**NEW**   Bloodstain Pattern Analysis – Fabric Analysis course.    
 
There is no cost to the hosting agency.  Your agency can receive up to 3 freeslots, depending on the course and class size. 
 
Visit our website to find information about hosting a course.  If your agency is interested, contact our Training Coordinator, Craig Gravel, at 405-706-8489 or rcgravel@bevelgardner.com.
 

Several Training Opportunities With Bevel, Gardner & Associates.

Bevel Gardner & Associates offers courses to train individuals in the forensic science procedures they use. The purpose of Forensic Science is to examine and collect information to help determine the facts at the scene of the crime. It may be used to confirm or exclude a suspect from further investigation. BGA teaches the proper analysis techniques preparing for presentation in a court of law. Visit our website for more information about course offerings across the country.  Hurry!  Our courses have been filling quickly. 

BLOODSTAIN PATTERN ANALYSIS I, Instructors - Ross M Gardner & Tom "Grif" Griffin
This course  introduces the student to bloodstain pattern analysis with significant concentration on basic pattern recognition and documentation. 

Kent County Sheriff’s Office, Grand Rapids, MI
May 21-25, 2018  -  REGISTER


SHOOTING INCIDENT RECONSTRUCTION I, Instructor - Jonathyn Priest
This course provides the experienced detective or crime scene investigator with the skills necessary to analyze and reconstruct shooting incidents. Students are taught to recognize and properly document the unique attributes of a shooting scene. Through a series of classes, laboratories and practical exercises, students will learn to interpret the dynamic relationship between the scene, evidence, and victim(s) injuries. The methodology and techniques needed to properly analyze and reconstruct the scene are emphasized. Students will be able to apply these skills to determine position of shooter(s), victim(s), and critical evidence, and to determine sequence of events.

Lexington County Sheriff's Office, Lexington, SC
May 21-25, 2018  -  REGISTER


BLOODSTAIN PATTERN ANALYSIS I, Instructors - Ross M Gardner & Jonathyn Priest
This course  introduces the student to bloodstain pattern analysis with significant concentration on basic pattern recognition and documentation. 

Colorado Springs Police Department
June 11-15, 2018  -  REGISTER


CRIME SCENE RECONSTRUCTION I, Instructor - Craig Gravel
A course of instruction designed for investigators, crime scene technicians, forensic technicians, and others involved in criminal and medical-legal investigations and crime scene analysis.  The course is intended to develop a fundamental knowledge of appropriate hypothesis development and testing procedures and provide an objective form of defining the events associated with a complex crime (Event Analysis). The course syllabus is not intended to create an “instant” expert. This course is not a crime scene processing course. 

Oklahoma City Police Department
July 30-August 3, 2018  -  REGISTER

The CSI Effect

CSI and it's spin-offs are some of the most popular shows on television.  People love a good crime drama.  Are CSI and other forensic-inspired shows affecting the jury pool?  Are people's views of what actually happens in the courtroom impacted by watching these television shows?  

The CSI Effect Theory asserts "popular TV crime dramas that focus on forensic science, may affect the behavior and expectations of jurors in real-life cases. The theory also suggests that jurors’ perceptions of the need for specific forensic evidence may impact their decisions in the courtroom."

Research shows jurors who watch forensic and crime shows have the expectation of scientific evidence at trial.  These jurors enter the courtroom expecting to see DNA, fingerprints and other forensic evidence.  Video enhancements seem so easy on television.  In real life situations, the video quality is typically not good and enhancements are less common.  DNA evidence is not processed instantly like it is on tv.  Fingerprints cannot be collected from just any surface.  It is the responsibility of counsel to educate jurors about how entertainment and real life differ.  
 

"22% of jurors expect DNA evidence to be presented in every criminal case."
"36% of jurors expected to see fingerprint evidence in every criminal case."

 

There seems to be a CSI factor for jurors in real-life courtrooms.  However, according to the study, the effect did not affect jurors' willingness to convict, which is good news for the judicial systems worldwide.  


National Institute of Justice

2018 ACSR National Conference

Register here for the 2018 ACSR Conference held in Tacoma, WA on March 6-8, 2018 before the New Year!.  

Tentative lineup of talks & workshops:

  • Photo documentation of bullet holes, trajectory rods, and lasers for later analysis
  • High speed camera/photography use in reconstruction
  • Omni-Car: Comprehensive field testing of blood, GSR, semen, and infrared aspects of a car search
  • Handheld laser 3D scanning of bodies at autopsies
  • Drone use in forensic reconstruction
  • Bullet holes in clothing: evaluation & documentation
  • Creating effective court exhibits from scan data
  • Keynote debate/panel on bias in forensic science

Discover Tacoma!  The conference will be held at Hotel Murano.  Rooms have been set aside and are available for $117/night using this link. The cut-off date for this rate is February 12, 2018.

IN THE NEWS

It was mandated by the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 that secret records be released regarding details into the investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy.  On October 26, 2017, President Trump allowed for the release of over 3,000 documents.  Here is a flashback video of Tom Bevel recreating the crime scene of the moment President Kennedy was shot.  

 

CRIME SCENE RECONSTRUCTION VIDEO - INSIDE THE TARGET CAR, JFK ASSASSINATION

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BGA Down Under

Ross recently completed a month in Australia, teaching courses in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.

Read More

Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation

Would you like to know how to evaluate physical evidence and its context in a scene in an attempt to define objective actions that occurred during an incident? Join us in North Las Vegas June 5th - June 9th for the Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation course, and learn the six basic activities of crime scene processing, different scene mapping methods, recognize basic blood stain patterns and more. Click the link below to register and for more information!

Register here! 

Crime Scene Reconstruction I

Join us in North Las Vegas on March 6th-10th for the Crime Scene Reconstruction I course hosted by the North Las Vegas Police Department. Take the opportunity to learn how to use a methodical approach when examining crime scenes. The course is intended to develop a fundamental knowledge of appropriate hypothesis development and testing procedures and provide an objective form of defining the events associated with a complete crime. For more information and to register click the link below! Cant wait to see you there!

Register Here! 

Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigating

Would you like to know how to evaluate physical evidence and its context in a scene in an attempt to define objective actions that occurred during an incident? Join us in North Las Vegas February 27th - March 3rd for the Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation course, and learn the six basic activities of crime scene processing. Click the link below to register and for more information!

Register Here! 

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis I

Looking to develop a basic understanding of the discipline of bloodstain pattern analysis? Sign up for the Bloodstain Pattern Analysis I course going on February 13th-17th in Salt Lake City,UT, and learn how to evaluate and document a bloodstain pattern scene. Click the link below for more information and registration. Can't wait to see you there!

Register Here! 

2017 Open Classes

At Bevel, Gardner and Associates we are dedicated to being the best source for forensic education and consulting. We are looking forward to 2017 and happy to announce we are still taking students for a few of our training courses. If you are interested in taking any of the following courses, please sign up and reserve your spot! The following is a list of available classes and locations.

BPA I

  • Denton, Texas – 2/27/2017
  • Midwest City, OK – 4/3/2017
  • Franklin, MA – 4/24/2017

BPA II

  • Melbourne, FL – 2/6/2017
  • Denton, Texas – 10/2/2017

CSR I

  • North Las Vegas, Nevada – 3/6/2017

CSP I

  • North Las Vegas, Nevada – 2/27/2017

Want to learn more about our courses? Click here!

 

 

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis II

Join us for the Bloodstain Pattern Analysis II course in Melbourne, Florida on February 6th-10th hosted by the Melbourne Police Department. The course will enhance your basic skills and develop the novice to core competency level required for independent bloodstain pattern analysis. By the end of the course you will be able to present bloodstain pattern analysis conclusions in a logical written format. Click the link below for more information and to register!

Register Here! 

Final Days in Dubai

Ross and Grif closed out the month of November with their new friends in Dubai. Read on to learn about the rest of their time in the desert:

The second week we spent in Dubai was devoted to covering advanced bloodstain pattern analysis topics. The week was shortened due to the upcoming national holiday commemorating the 45th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Sunday and Monday were focused on experimental design; each team implementing its design; peer review of another team’s documentation by photos and notes; conducting experiments in bloodstain size and distance droplets traveled; practicing the tangent method for determining two areas of origins for two impact patterns on the same surface; and looking at bloodstained clothing to evaluate the patterns to see if the bloodstain evidence supported or refuted a potential suspect’s statement.

The final morning, Tuesday, the class presented their peer reviews; offered reconstructions of the mock scenes they had examined on Monday; took the final test; and saw a case presentation to close out the class portion. We all then went to the auditorium of the Dubai Police Department Training headquarters where the brigadier general in charge of training presented certificates to the students and certificates and medallions of appreciation to us. On the way to the graduation ceremony, Grif unintentionally tried to make a lasting impression with respect to the BGA presence by walking into (but not through) a locked glass door. That action initiated a source of fresh blood that went to waste as all of the class experiments were completed.

The world travelers headed back to the U.S. on November 30th but have brought back memories and pictures to last a life time. Both Ross and Grif appreciate the opportunity to put their expertise to work on a global level and look forward to their next international adventure.

Desert Holiday

Ross and Griff were working while the rest of us feasted on Thanksgiving, however, they were able to have a change of pace once the weekend rolled around. Read on to hear about their unique desert experience:

Friday and Saturday are the weekend days here in the UAE. We signed up for a desert safari program for Friday afternoon and evening. The company uses SUVs which can transport 6 tourists and the driver and there were 10 vehicles out this day. Our first desert stop was to watch a falconry demonstration and then four-wheeling in the sand dunes. Walking in the fine sand took some effort and used leg muscles not normally called into action. For those wanting technical data, the tire pressures are reduced from 35 psi to 20 psi to move in the extremely fine sand.  Some parts were reminiscent of turbulent air travel. We were in the far back seat for this part of the adventure and had to slouch to keep the tops of our heads from hitting the headliner.  The presence of padded roll bars was in interesting touch! We saw a few gazelles and a herd of over two dozen oryx. From the dunes our caravan went to a campsite at which a traditional dinner was served, camel rides were available, and belly dancing closed out the evening.

Adventures in Dubai Continue

Ross and Griff are over half way through their desert teaching expedition. Last week they continued instructing the Bloodstain Pattern Analysis I Class and had these reflections:

Day 3: Involved a morning discussion of the experiments conducted on Day 2.  The afternoon had its own labs including drying times; horizontal motion of dropping blood; stringing for area of origin; documentation of bloodstain patterns

Day 4: Discussion of the lab experiments from Day 3 and exercises to practice measuring the widths and lengths of stains for calculating impact angles.

Day 5: In addition to new lecture topics, the class had a paper exercise to apply the use of the tangent method to calculate area of origin.  They'll have more practice next week.

Camel Blood, American Idioms and More from Dubai

Two of our BGA folks will be spending Thanksgiving this year across the Atlantic.  Ross and Grif are in Dubai for almost two weeks instructing BPA I and BPA II as back-to-back classes for the Dubai P.D. They left the U.S. last Friday and arrived in Dubai on Saturday and began the first class the next day. The work week in Dubai is Sunday through Thursday.  Classes are being conducted at the new building housing the General Department of Forensic Science and Criminology which opened a few months ago. 

There are 19 students in the class who are from both the Dubai P.D. Crime Scene Department and the forensic laboratory. The students understand English and most of them are quite fluent in it which is good as neither Ross nor Grif speak Arabic – at least not yet. There have only been a few occasions when some of the students helped translated words and phrases for other class members. This happened, and will probably continue to happen, when scientific terminology is used and American idioms, such as talking about “not seeing the forest for the trees” for example.

Our hosts are wonderful and everyone in class is enthusiastic as was evidenced how all actively participated in the bloodstain lab experiments that ran all day Monday. This class provided a first for BGA bloodstain classes. Camel blood is being used! It is available in sufficient quantity for a week, so getting through hump day will not be a problem.

Crime Scene Reconstruction II

Interested in developing advanced skills used to analyze complex crime scenes? Join us Salt Lake City, UT, January 9th-13th for the Crime Scene Reconstruction II course. The course will enhance your skills on crime scene analysis and additionally you will see how to properly present your findings in court. Click the link below for more information and to register. See you there! 

Register Here!