The Value of Forensic Archaeology Training for All Law Enforcement Officers: A Case Example

Author(s): Martin McAllister; Brent Kober

Year: 2016


Law enforcement officers working for agencies not directly involved in land management, such as county sheriff’s departments, traditionally have not been trained to recognize evidence of crimes related to resource protection, for example, artifacts and human remains stolen in the commission of archaeological crimes. In a recent class presented by our firm and cohosted by the Lake County, California Sheriff’s Department and two California tribes, sheriff’s deputies and evidence technicians received training in the investigation of archaeological crimes and the forensic archaeology of identifying the evidence of these crimes. Two days after the training was completed, one of these deputies made contact with a suspect in a potential child abuse case. In a search of the suspect’s vehicle, he found drugs and drug paraphernalia and also artifacts with cards possibly identifying the locations from which they were removed, evidence he would not have recognized earlier. The suspect has now been charged with violations of California’s archaeological protection laws in addition to his drug related charges and the case has received considerable local and regional media attention due to its archaeological nexus. This illustrates the value of providing forensic archaeology training to all law enforcement officers.

Cite this Record

The Value of Forensic Archaeology Training for All Law Enforcement Officers: A Case Example. Martin McAllister, Brent Kober. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 402972)

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