The People’s Experts

Photo (above):Three students at the most recent session of NFA try to determine the path of a bullet.

Day 1: UT Institute for Public Service

Established in 1971

Center for Industrial Services, County Technical Assistance Service, Municipal Technical Advisory Service, Law Enforcement Innovation Center, Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership

Main administrative office in Knoxville

Offices located in Chattanooga, Cookeville, Jackson, Johnson City, Knoxville, Martin, Memphis, Murfreesboro, Nashville, Oak Ridge

Employees: 138


Did you know? IPS had a $607 million economic impact on the state in FY13.

Twenty-four law enforcement officers wearing khaki pants and navy shirts are busy measuring, taking notes and poking yellow rods into various objects like car seats, windows, concrete, clothing and walls. At the National Forensic Academy (NFA) on this day, these officers and investigators from around the country are learning how to determine a bullet’s trajectory, just one of the learning modules that is part of an intensive 10-week training program funded by the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance and coordinated by the Institute for Public Service’s Law Enforcement Innovation Center in Oak Ridge.

A student measures a bullet hole
A student measures a bullet hole

The NFA draws upon the expertise of veteran investigators and researchers, such as Bill Bass, the founder of the Anthropology Research Facility (the Body Farm) at UT Knoxville. The NFA was established in 2001 and has graduated more than 650 participants. who know the NFA as “the Harvard of Hellish Violence.” No other university offers any program like it. The training facility in Oak Ridge includes laboratory and classroom space, equipment and access to outdoor training areas for shooting reconstructions and body and remains recovery. “Nobody has this facility. The dedication they showed up front has not been replicated,” says Howard Ryan, an NFA instructor since 2008 with 25 years of experience as a trooper and investigator in New Jersey.

Video: Jim Molinaro and Howard Ryan speak about training law enforcement professionals at the NFA

A student examines bullet holes in glass
A student examines bullet holes in glass

The Institute for Public Service (IPS) provides assistance and training to government, business and law enforcement. IPS consultants train state government employees to be better managers and help businesses and governments save money through streamlining and energy efficiency. One of the most publicized IPS enterprises is the National Forensic Academy (NFA), which helps law enforcement improve the crime scene investigation skills.

Photos by Wade Payne



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