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R4 Planning & Executing Searches for Human Remains- Pocatello

April 10, 2020 @ 11:30 am - 9:30 pm

Course Number: R4280B

Course Description:

This two-day course will familiarize law enforcement and medicolegal professionals with the components of effective outdoor searches for human remains. Emphasis will be placed on developing skills for search planning and execution that can immediately be put into practice. The course provides 3.75 hours of lecture-based instruction with 8.25 hours of structured hands-on laboratory and field exercises with real human and non-human bone. Outdoor field exercise will include daytime pedestrian searches in two environments and a nighttime search using hand-held alternate light sources.

Learning Objectives:
After completing this course, participants will be familiar with:

  • Types of pedestrian search patterns and the pros and cons of each
  • Factors that structure search planning (e.g., purpose of search, manpower, expertise, scale, vegetation, terrain, time, equipment
  • Contributions of technology and other resources in a search (e.g., forensic anthropologist, cadaver dogs, probes, heavy machinery, ground penetrating radar
  • Appearance of the major bones of the human skeleton
  • Common dispersal patterns of human remains
  • Taphonomic bone modifications that influence the appearance of human remains
  • The use of a hand-held forensic (alternate) light source in nighttime searches

No book is required. Course packet with lab handouts and reference materials will be provided at check-in.

Course Requirements: Attendance of all lectures and active participation in lab activities is required. Attendance will be taken in each lecture session to verify contact hours. No out-of-class readings or assignments are required.

Student Evaluation: The course will conclude with a lab activity (Developing Realistic Search Plans) where participants will put into practice what they have learned based on simulated real-life scenarios. Search plans will be evaluated in class discussion.

Additional Considerations: A large portion of this class will take place outdoors. Field exercises will take place during the day and after sunset. Average temperatures in Pocatello during this time are in the mid-60s during the day and fall to around freezing after dark. Please prepare accordingly. We recommend sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and water bottle. Based on vegetation and terrain in the search areas, long pants and sleeves, sturdy shoes, and work gloves are also recommended.

Alternate Light Sources (ALS): This course will use the UltraLite ALS Ultra One (3-in-1 ALS) unit. Individuals may opt to bring the equipment that is available to them to gain familiarity using it under simulated real-world conditions. Please contact the course instructor if you plan to bring an ALS unit from your agency.

Dates: April 10-11, 2020

Times: Friday 1130-2130, Saturday 0830-1430

Credit Hours: 12

Location: Idaho State University Campus, Pocatello, ID 83201

Cost: $150.00

Course fee includes: manual, Sat. lunch, and course certificate

(Attendees are responsible for meals, travel, and/or lodging)


Instructor(s): ISU Forensic Anthropology Professor Sara Getz

Remarks: Registration and Payment: Registration can be submitted by clicking the link below and filling out the registration form on your computer or smart phone. The form contains additional information regarding payments by check or credit card.


Direct any questions to Dr. Sara Getz at


April 10, 2020
11:30 am - 9:30 pm
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Idaho State University Department of Anthropology/ Forensic Anthropology Laboratory


Idaho State University
921 S. 8th Ave.
Pocatello, ID 83209 United States
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