ATF opened the National Firearms Examiner Academy (NFEA) in 1999 to provide training for entry-level firearms examiners from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. This innovate academy is a collaboration with ATF’s National Laboratory Center, the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners (AFTE), and a private consultant to ensure new toolmark examiners receive proper training to work in this field.
NFEA is co-located with the National Laboratory Center in Ammendale, Maryland. NFEA is currently the only national training program to provide a standardized training curriculum for education in firearms forensics. To date, 211 trainees have successfully completed the main NFEA program. NFEA has also held 113 classes on serial number restoration for toolmark examiners from local, state and international agencies since 2000.
During the main NFEA program, trainees learn about the fundamentals of firearms and toolmark examinations. Students participate in instructor-led courses and mock simulations while conducting research and contributing to the field of forensics. The program also prepares trainees to deliver expert witness testimony based on scientific proof, including simulated pretrial conferences and evidence exhibits.
The program also has a research component in which students analyze leading topics in the firearms industry and present the results of their work before a panel of experts during the AFTE’s annual training seminars.
NFEA partners with other law enforcement agencies and members of the firearms industry to provide leading-edge training programs. Additionally, the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) introduces trainees to emerging technologies such as 3D imaging and virtual microscopy. NFEA provides two advanced courses in firearms forensics: Serial Number Restoration and Toolmark Examination/Comparison and Identification.
For questions about NFEA, please contact NFEA Program Manager Sheila Hopkins at (202) 648-6061 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.