Michael Cravens (Credit: Roxy Mitchem-Horn)

Michael Cravens, Academy Village

Wednesday, October 2, 2019, 2:30-3:30 p.m.,

The Arizona Senior Academy Building

For the past century and a half, literature and popular media have given the bulk of attention to the front-line of law enforcement, from beat cops to detectives.  Only recently has any attention been paid to the back office of crime fighting: forensics—the collection, cataloguing, analysis and legal presentation of physical evidence in the criminal justice system.

Michael Cravens recently moved to Academy Village after a 35-year career working as a forensic expert with the Illinois State Police.  His specialty was illicit drug identification. He worked out of a laboratory in the state capital, Springfield. His lecture will consist of an overview of forensics, a look at the specifics of drug identification, and a narrative of some of his more interesting cases as an expert witness.

Michael received a degree in chemistry from Eastern Illinois University. In addition to completing a forensics certification program, Michael received training in Clandestine Laboratory Investigation; the DuPont gas chromatograph—used to detect explosives and analyze blood specimens, among other things; and mass spectrometer maintenance—an instrument used to identify substances by isolating and imaging their molecular structures (think drugs, poisons). He also was given the special assignment of proofreading the State of Illinois drug statutes and compiling and editing a forensics procedures manual for statewide use.  Michael is a member of the Midwestern Association of Forensic Scientists.

Written by Roxy Mitchem-Horn, Academy Village Volunteer

Oct. 2: “Introduction to Forensics”