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Evidence Photographers International Council (EPIC) is a non-profit organization striving to advance the professional standards of forensic photography. A process of education and testing has been established that leads to an EPIC certification. Those qualifying will have demonstrated, in theory and in practice, professional competence in the collection of photographic evidence for use in civil and criminal cases. This type of recognition can advance the career of a crime scene specialist or criminal investigator within a law enforcement agency. In the private sector, holders of an EPIC certification may receive preferred consideration from attorneys or insurance companies seeking to document evidence in a civil action.
Forensic photography involves documenting a site of interest, the evidence found there, and its method of discovery. Strict rules for the collection of evidence are followed to assure admissibility in court. The proper use of lighting, camera angle, viewpoint, and measurement scale is necessary. Some photographic evidence can only be recorded with the aid of enhanced lighting, such as infrared, ultraviolet or laser light. Education in the legal requirements and advanced techniques of forensic photography is one of the primary advantages of pursuing an EPIC certification.
To assure current proficiency, a photographer must be recertified every four years, a requirement that may be fulfilled in one of two ways. EPIC's Evidence Photographer Certification test can be retaken as one way to meet the requirement. As an alternative, a minimum of 30 hours of EPIC sponsored continuing education classes can be completed. Recertification has the advantage of assuring employers that the certificate holder has remained actively involved in the field, and is familiar with the latest advances.
There has been a growing need for the monitoring of professional standards in law enforcement departments and forensic laboratories. This is generally done through accreditation by independent agencies and boards. An EPIC certification provides a widely recognized, independent verification of professional competence in forensic photography. Holding such a qualification demonstrates the training and proficiency typically expected for departmental accreditation.
EPIC has a professional code of conduct and a review process by which certification can be suspended or revoked. The code of conduct works to ensure that an impartial record of the evidence is produced. Whether that evidence is to the benefit or detriment of the photographer's employer should be immaterial to its accurate documentation. The process also protects a photographer's certification if a complaint arises because of a member's refusal to compromise professional standards. A referral service for EPIC certified photographers seeking private sector employment is offered, as well.
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