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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Friday, September 12, 2014
Contact: FY-14-10

ATF National Firearms Examiner Academy Graduates Next Generation of Crime Fighters

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) awarded 10 law enforcement officers from around the nation certification in the fundamentals of firearm and toolmark examination, which serves as the foundation for expert firearms examiners. The graduates attended a year-long training program at the National Firearms Examiner Academy (NFEA) conducted by ATF’s National Laboratory Center (NLC). The graduates will now return to their local, state and federal law enforcement partners with advanced skills to aid in the arrest and prosecution of violent criminals.

ATF’s NLC is staffed with chemists, scientists, forensic biologists, engineers, fingerprint specialists, firearm and toolmark examiners and document examiners. In fiscal year 2013, ATF’s laboratories accomplished the following:

  • Processed 2,475 forensic cases
  • Processed 74 fire research cases
  • Processed 3,374 ATF NIBIN cases
  • Provided 105 days of expert testimony in the courts
  • Worked 108 days at crime scenes
  • Provided 579 days of training instruction for federal, state and local investigators and examiners

“The work in the lab impacts violent crime on the streets,” said ATF Deputy Assistant Director Greg P. Czarnopys, Office of Science and Technology, Forensic Services. “The NFEA provided students with the skills to aid in investigations that will identify individuals who use firearms to negatively impact our communities. The skills they take today will help take violent individuals off our streets and out of our communities.”

Members of the graduating class include:  Steven Aston, Austin Police Department, Austin, Texas; Cassie Boldt, Sedgwick County Regional Forensic Center, Wichita, Kan.; Sarah Clemens and Nicholas Drake of the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Milwaukee; Kasi Kirksey, Houston Police Department, Houston; Michael Lee, Michigan State Police, Lansing, Mich.; Robyn Radosevich, West Valley City Police Department, West Valley City, Utah; Rebecca Renis, Michigan State Police, Detroit; Rebecca Silverstein, Lake County Crime Laboratory, Painesville, Ohio; and Allyson Woosley, Winston-Salem Police Department, Winston-Salem, N.C.

ATF’s NFEA class was held from Oct. 1, 2013 – Sept. 12, 2014. Coursework included instruction from ATF experts in laboratory protocol, safety and ethics, as well as standards that govern the admissibility of expert testimony in court. Students learn 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.

Additional topics include terminal ballistics, gunshot residue, shot patterns, bullet path analysis, wound effects, the examination and comparison of cartridges, cartridge cases, shot shells, and fired shot shells. Students also receive training in the history of black powder, modern ammunition, its evolution and manufacturing, and microscopy and instrumentation.

After the NFEA graduates return to their agencies, they will continue their training for approximately an additional year at their home laboratories before they can independently and completely examine and compare physical evidence related to firearm and toolmark identification, and render opinions relating to their examinations and comparisons or provide expert testimony.

ATF is a law enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Justice that is dedicated to preventing violent crime. More information on ATF and its programs can be found at