OCSD Detective Sergeant Sidwell graduates National Forensic Academy

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Chief Deputy Tim Poore, far left, and Overton County Sheriff John Garrett, far right, congratulate Detective Sergeant Derek Sidwell at the NFA graduation ceremony held at the Smokies Stadium in Kodak, TN, in November.

Sheriff John Garrett and Chief Deputy Tim Poore announce the graduation of Detective Sergeant Derek Sidwell from the National Forensics Academy (Session #53). Detective Sergeant Sidwell serves in the Criminal Investigation Division at the Overton County Sheriff’s Department and is the first to graduate the NFA from Overton County.

The National Forensic Academy is an intensive 10-week training program, co-funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, designed to meet the demanding needs of law enforcement agencies in evidence identification, collection, and preservation, said officials. The NFA is offered in-residence, utilizing a curriculum developed by leading forensic practitioners from across the United States.

Sheriff John Garrett said, “I want to congratulate Detective Sergeant Sidwell for his commitment to completing this challenging and demanding training opportunity. This type of specialized training and personal achievement represents an important investment in our personnel and our ability to better serve the citizens of Overton County.”

Throughout the NFA training, participants were challenged in the various disciplines of forensic science through extensive classroom instruction, laboratory activities, and field practicums. Academy participants also completed written and in-class competency exams to demonstrate mastery of the subject areas as well. The goal of the National Forensic Academy is to prepare the crime scene investigator to recognize key elements and to improve the process of evidence recovery and submission.

“I am very proud of Detective Sergeant Sidwell for completing this professional career milestone,” said Sheriff Garrett. “The knowledge and practical experience he has gained by graduating this respected academy will greatly benefit the Overton County Sheriff’s Department’s Criminal Investigation Division and the citizens of Overton County.”

The training Detective Sergeant Sidwell received in the NFA Academy is Tennessee POST Certified and includes 400 hours of coursework. He received a formal diploma of completion and a Bloodstain Pattern Analysis 40-hour class completion certificate. The NFA is recognized by the IAI as providing the necessary training required for the four levels of crime scene certification. The curriculum also includes 170 hours of in-class work, 230 hours of field practicum, and a comprehensive, practical final. Detective Sergeant Sidwell completed all tasks and is now certified as a National Crime Scene Investigator.

The National Forensic Academy is considered as the most intense hands on training for crime scene investigation in the United States. Detective Sergeant Sidwell trained with 24 other law enforcement officers from numerous agencies including the Texas Rangers, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation, United States Army CID, Ohio Forensics, Houston TX Forensics, Alcoa Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The National Forensics Academy is part of the UT Law Enforcement Innovation Center’s Institute for Public Service.