Police Department News

Two crime scene technicians have completed a ten-week training program at the University of Tennessee National Forensic Academy, popularly referred to in books and on television as “the body farm.”

Meredith D. Dwyer and Jennifer A. Chludzinski graduated from Class 26 at the academy March 19. Their attendance was financed through a Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant.

Dwyer and Chludzinski are the first crime scene technicians in the Police Department to attend the National Forensic Academy. They join an elite group; only 437 people have completed training there.

Students complete 400 hours, including 170 hours of classroom instruction and 230 hours of field exercises at a special three-acre plot where human cadavers have been placed to help forensic technicians learn how to gather evidence from bodies left to decompose under different conditions. The training facility became known as “the body farm” after Patricia Cornwell featured it in her 1974 novel by the same name.


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