Monday, March 20, 2017

Training for Investigating Environmental Cases

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Project EnCriPT

Project EnCriPT hosted a live training for civil and criminal enforcement officers on how to investigate environmental crimes.

The Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT) and Project EnCriPT hosted a hands-on training for environmental and law enforcement professionals on how to investigate environmental cases on March 6-8 in Huntsville.

The Environmental Enforcement Introductory Training Program was designed for those involved in the civil or criminal enforcement of environmental laws, including law enforcement officers, sanitarians, code enforcement officers, and other subject matter experts responsible for environmental concerns. It included instruction as well as demonstrations on how to handle and investigate environmental cases in their jurisdictions.

The course emphasized proven techniques to assist with the investigation of environmental cases and offered hands-on training on the skills and equipment needed to ensure public safety and to prepare a strong case for court. It provided practice in documenting, photographing, sketching and mapping scenes; retrieving water and soil samples near streams, in barrels and from underground containers; avoiding cross contamination of samples; and processing solid waste debris and soils. It also stressed the importance of safety in dealing with hazardous materials.

In addition to two-days in the field, participants received a day in the classroom with lessons on the history of environmental enforcement, hazardous substances and toxicology, officer health and safety, personal protection devices and work practices; detection and monitoring equipment; and proper ways to handle and analyze evidence.

The courses were taught by professional instructors from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as local environmental enforcement officials, who provided examples of investigations they have conducted and the challenges they faced. Participanta also were exposed to state-of-the-art equipment and techniques that are used by the EPA to investigate the scene, both to protect public safety and to build cases for prosecution or civil action.

Project EnCriPT is part of a national program to strengthen civil and criminal enforcement efforts at the local, county, state, and tribal levels. Originally funded by the EPA, the initiative continues to offer free, online courses for professionals in the field as well as in-person classes across the country. Among its latest online offerings are:

  • Advanced Personal Safety
  • Chain of Custody
  • Determining Probable Cause
  • Environmental Crimes 101
  • Environmental Sampling Overview
  • Ethics of Environmental Enforcement
  • GIS (Geographical Information System) in Environmental Investigations
  • How to Handle the Media
  • How to Handle the Media-Cohort
  • Illegal Dumping of Nonhazardous Waste
  • Interviewing Techniques
  • Introduction to Environmental Investigations
  • Parallel Proceedings
  • Personal Safety for Environmental Enforcement Professionals
  • Report Writing
  • Search Warrants: Planning & Execution
  • Soil Sampling
  • Water Sampling

For future live and online opportunities, visit Project EnCriPT or contact Program Coordinator Andrea Hoke at (936) 294-3702 or