Headlamp Examination

Class Code: 
Subject Area: 
M - Microscopy and Trace Program
Class Location: 
Class Description: 

This three day (24 hour) course will provide students with an understanding of forensic examination of vehicle lamps. They will learn how to examine and evaluate headlights (sealed beam and halogen), taillights, and other vehicle lamps to determine if the lamps were on at the time of an accident. The course material will cover information on filament manufacture, bulb design and assembly, normal filament failure, and manufacturing irregularities in filaments. Students will conduct hands-on examination of an extensive collection of exemplars, and will perform experiments and exercises regarding filament deformation. Recent research on halogen headlights in crash sled tests will be presented and students will have the opportunity to examine the halogen bulbs involved in the tests. This course is intended for criminalists who have a beginning interest in lamp examination and for more experienced criminalists who wish to expand their background in this area of forensic examination. Each class is limited to 12 students. POST certification Plan IV.

Teaching Methods: 
Course presentation will be a combination of lectures, audiovisual presentations, demonstrations and active student participation.
Students will learn how to conduct a forensic examination of vehicle lamps in accident cases and will develop a background basis for interpreting filament deformation relative to natural variations and normal filament failure. They will have personally examined a broad base of know exemplars representing a range of filament conditions and configurations. Hands-on examinations and experiments with filament distortion under controlled conditions will provide each student with a personal reference base from which to interpret their observations in casework.
Students should have some general criminalistics background and be familiar with the theory and practice of forensic comparative analysis. This course will involve the use of a stereozoom microscope.
No cost to POST supported or State of California based Law Enforcement agencies. A $360.00 tuition fee will be required of all other public agency, private sector, or out-of-state applicants.
Course Contact: 
CCI (916) 464-0600, FAX (916) 464-5818
More Information: 

Schedule of Classes:

No classes are scheduled at this time.

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