There are two primary ways in which footwear and tire examiners are certified in the U.S.—law enforcement agency certification and external certification.
Law Enforcement Agency Certification
Examiners employed with a law enforcement agency are required to successfully complete a training program in the examination of footwear and tire impression evidence. This program comprises information on the detection, collection, enhancement and analysis of this type of evidence as well as manufacturing information regarding footwear and tires. The training program is completed under the direct supervision of a qualified footwear/tire examiner.
During training, the trainee reads relevant articles and books, and conducts practical exercises. The trainee must also pass a series of exercises, including, but not limited to, the following: written and oral examinations, oral boards and courtroom training.
Upon successful completion of the training program, the trainee is certified by the agency to conduct examinations and issue reports regarding footwear and/or tire impression evidence. This training process normally takes between 1 and 2 years.
The IAI Footwear and Tire Track Subcommittee published the Recommended Course of Study for Footwear and Tire Track Examiners, which outlines a model for essential training requirements concerning footwear and tire impression evidence examinations.
Some agencies do not conduct examinations in the area of tire impression evidence; therefore, examiners employed by such agencies may be trained in the examination of footwear impression evidence only.
Currently, external certification for examiners is limited to footwear impression evidence. There are no tire impression evidence certifications as this time.
There are two sources for external certification: