Basic Bloodstain Pattern Analysis FRSC 4111/5111
Dr. Mike Illes
A bloody hand smeared against a wall. Blood spatter on car windows. A bloodied hammer falling from a second storey and thudding on carpet.
Depending on the scenario, including how far and fast it travelled and from what height, blood leaves a certain pattern that gives police detectives and forensic scientists clues as to what happened.
In Trent University’s new, state-of-the-art Forensics Crime Scene Facility, students have the chance to use synthetic blood, developed by the University, and sheep’s blood to stage mock crime scenes. They might climb a ladder to drop blood from different heights and angles, cover fake guns in blood and throw them against a wall or dump blood into an electric fan to see its trajectory. Fellow students then come into the room and use the skills learned in the Basic Bloodstain Pattern Analysis course to identify the patterns and predict the order in which they happened.
“This very hands-on course, recognized by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), is informative and interactive while providing a very good idea of how practitioners do things in the real world,” says instructor Dr. Mike Illes, a retired police officer who once served as the regional manager for the OPP Forensic Identification Services and developed the course for Trent.
Study in Unique State-of-Art Facility
The course involves lectures, guest speakers and literature review as well as a weekly lab in the new Forensics Crime Scene Facility, which is a first-of-its-kind building on a Canadian university campus. The 4,100-square-foot facility offers features such as cameras to record students’ analysis, moveable walls to stage up to eight crime scenes, and industry-standard equipment to process and analyze evidence while minimizing cross-contamination.
The facility also offers a large garage for examining blood-impact patterns in the curved surfaces of vehicles, and an outdoor area to see how blood reacts on surfaces such as gravel, sand and sidewalk.
Boost Your Resume
Approved by the International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts (IABPA), the course unique among Canadian universities. After taking the course, students can apply to become an IABPA member, which offers a resume boost while connecting them with other practitioners through conferences and formal communications.
Master of Forensic Science student Mercedes Ecclestone, who is considering a career as a crime-scene analyst, says she was drawn to the course as she’s a “crime junkie.”
“Blood stain pattern analysis is talked about a lot in pop culture but I wanted to understand the science behind it,” she says.
Mercedes enjoyed creating her own crime scenes and learning how to eliminate her biases and assumptions when studying others’ scenes.
“I learned a lot in this class and gained practical experience from (Prof. Illes) who has seen real-life examples of what we’re doing,” she says.
Experience the world of forensics – from crime scene to the lab and beyond – by studying Forensic Science at Trent University.