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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Friday, September 15, 2017
Contact: Public Affairs Division

ATF National Firearms Examiner Academy Graduates its 17th Class of Firearm and Toolmark Examiner Trainees

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Firearms Examiner Academy (NFEA) graduated its 2016-2017 class of 11 men and women with apprentice/entry-level firearms and toolmark examiner skills today after a year-long training program conducted by ATF’s National Laboratory Center (NLC). This newest cadre of students gained training in the fundamentals of firearms and toolmark examination, which serves as the foundation for supervised development into qualified examiners.

Members of the 17th NFEA graduating class include: Jonathan Charron, Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, Sacramento, Calif.; Kelby Glass, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Fayetteville, N.C.; Nicholas Hvasta, New Jersey State Police, Hamilton, N.J.; Tylor Klep, Phoenix Police Department, Phoenix; Jill Kurzenberger, Albuquerque Police Department, Albuquerque, N.M.; Connor Lamberson, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Nashville, Tenn.; Rebecca Learned, Omaha Police Department, Omaha, Neb.; Dylan Matt, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Richfield, Ohio; Matthew Schaible, Union County Police Department, Westfield, N.J.; Brooke Talmadge Layne, Winston-Salem Police Department, Winston-Salem, N.C.; and Nathan Von Rentzell, Denver Police Department, Denver.

From Oct. 1, 2016 – Sept. 15, 2017, the NFEA class focused on laboratory safety, protocols as well as ethical standards and principles that govern the admissibility of expert testimony in court. Students received training in the history of black powder, the evolution of early firearms, the evolution and manufacturing of modern ammunition, and microscopy and instrumentation. Additional classes covered firearms identification, the manufacture of modern firearms, preliminary examination of firearms, bullet examination and comparison, toolmark examination, comparison and identification, and restoration of obliterated markings. Also included were terminal ballistics, gunshot residue, shot patterns, bullet path analysis and the examination and comparison of cartridges, cartridge cases, shot shells, and fired shot shells.

These graduates, after returning to their local and state law enforcement agencies, will continue their training for approximately one year at their home laboratories. Upon completion, they will be able to independently and completely examine and compare physical evidence related to firearms and toolmark identification; independently reach conclusions and render opinions relating to their examinations and comparisons; and provide expert testimony in a professional and impartial manner. The NFEA’s standardized program with the support of the Association of Firearms and Toolmark Examiners is conducted at ATF’s NLC. The NFEA has graduated 188 students from 45 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands since its inception in 1999. The next scheduled class will begin in October 2017.

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