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LEVA Symposium Focuses on Collecting, Presenting Evidence

‘All participants need to bring is a willingness to learn to improve their skills’

Jim Hoerricks, of the Los Angeles Police Department, leads a class on image processing fundamentals at the 2012 LEVA Symposium.Preparing videographers and forensic-video analysts on the collection and presentation of video evidence is the goal of the Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Video Association’s 24th Annual International Training Symposium.

Blaine Davison, the organization’s president, told Government Video that LEVA’s symposium—which takes place Sept. 9–13 in Asheville, N.C.—offers a mix of hands-on workshops, case studies and interactive seminars focused on forensic video and audio technologies, as well as video production and editing tools, according to the organization.

LEVA’s training is designed to coach participants on how to be an expert witness; and to help members reach that goal

The association has scheduled a combination of lectures, demonstrations and moot courts, according to Davison. One goal of LEVA’s training is to coach participants on how to be an expert witness.


Among the sessions is the seminar “Courtroom Testimony for Forensic Video Analysts,” which runs Sept. 9–11 and is open to anyone who testifies in an expert capacity, not just forensic video analysts, LEVA said. The seminar’s instructor is Jonathan Hak, a crown prosecutor in Alberta, Canada who is an expert in both Canadian and U.S. case law.

The seminar is designed to teach experts how to give effective testimony, both in direct and in cross. It defines the role and limits of the expert witness, present keys to effective communication with juries and offer best practices for delivering testimony.

“The courtroom can be a very intimidating place, and the skills required to be an expert in forensic science are completely different from the skills required to be an expert witness,” Hak said. “Understanding the dynamics of courtroom testimony will help an expert to be more comfortable in the witness stand, give better evidence, anticipate lines of questioning, know how to handle difficult cross examination and stay within proper limits.”

Hak has developed this course to prepare participants for the court process, including the “voir dire” or jury selection process, to handling challenges to the Daubert standard, which provides rules for the admissibility of expert witness testimony, Davison said. “That is one of our most well-attended classes,” he added. But it is also only one of many courses offered.

LEVA has never offered a more comprehensive training schedule, Davison said. “We’ve got everything, from a very basic introduction to video [‘Video Essentials for First Responders’], all the way to the advanced analysis of images pulled from a DVR [‘Digital Video Processing & Analysis Workflow’], and everything in between,” he said. “All participants need to bring is a willingness to learn to improve their skills.”

Scheduled for Sept. 10 and limited to 90 students, “Video Essentials for First Responders” is a daylong session designed as an introduction to video evidence for law enforcement officials, LEVA says. In addition, the one-day $195 conference fee is waived for guest attendees of the class.

“This is a great opportunity for new and returning attendees to receive valuable LEVA training for free,” Davison said. “Law enforcement budgets are tight, and some agencies can’t afford to send their people to get training. We’re hoping that by offering this class for free, it will allow those agencies to send officers or investigators to learn how to deal with surveillance-video images, which are the most prolific type of evidence in law enforcement.”

In addition, videographers, analysts and first responders who are within a day’s drive of the symposium and who want to checkout the tradeshow portion can do so on Sept. 10 free of charge.

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