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Instructor Spotlight: Herbert Pittman


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Instructor Spotlight - Senior Instructor Herbert Pittman
Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) Senior Instructor Herbert Pittman.
Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) Senior Instructor Herbert Pittman.

Upon asking the many Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers’ (FLETC) Instructors what brings them to FLETC, quite often we find military service initiated their journey to America’s enterprise resource for federal law enforcement training.

For Senior Instructor Herbert Pittman, his turning point came after the conclusion of his naval career. Upon separating from the Navy in 1992, Pittman worked as a Corrections Officer at the Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, Florida for six years. 

“I always enjoyed helping people,” expressed Pittman. “As a Corrections Officer, I enjoyed the comradery.”

During his time in corrections, Pittman was offered an opportunity to enroll in a crossover class to become a law enforcement officer through Lake County Community College. After completing the crossover class, Pittman became a white-collar detective for the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

“Back then, nobody wanted to be a white-collar detective,” explained Pittman. “During those times, banks weren’t open on the weekends and there was a lot of paperwork. I enjoyed the job because I liked putting the puzzle together.”

What Pittman didn’t know was his interest for solving puzzles would lead him to digital forensics evidence, allowing him to be selected as one of three people to establish a Digital Forensics Division for the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

“In October 2009, we had a child abduction case we were working on in Orange Park, and at the time we didn’t have a digital forensics division,” said Pittman. “Around that same time, during a high-value trial in Orlando, there were some errors that occurred and messed up the case.”

The Clay County Sheriff didn’t want to be troubled with the same mistakes experienced in the Orlando high-value case. The Clay County Sheriff decided to make his own digital evidence/forensics cyber division and picked Pittman and two other staff members to train – part of which caused his first introduction to FLETC.

“Back then if we wanted to get our digital evidence, we had to send it to Tallahassee, which could take about a year to receive back.”

Pittman attended FLETC and completed training in Introduction to Digital Evidence Analysis (IDEA), Digital Evidence Acquisition Specialist Training (DEASTP), Recovery of Evidence from CCTV Video Recording (RECVR), Seized Computer Evidence Recovery Specialist (SCERS), and Wi-Fi Tools for Analysis and GEO-Locating (WTAG). 

Pittman spent his last four years before retirement in the Cyber Division at the Clay County Sheriff's Office.

After coming to FLETC, Pittman discovered there were job openings in the training field he had taken as an officer. Eighteen months before Pittman retired from the Sheriff’s Office, he was hired on at FLETC and worked weekends at the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office until his official retirement. Pittman retired with 25 years as a detective, and in 2016, he started full time as a FLETC Instructor.

Today, Pittman is a Senior Instructor and the Program Coordinator for the Basic Incident Response to Digital Evidence (BIRDE) training, providing the necessary training to any criminal investigator who may be a first responder in a situation where computer-based evidence is or may be recovered.

“The way that the BIRDE class is designed is to teach tribal, state, and local law enforcement how to go out and gain digital evidence,” explained Pittman. “The training is very well received because these officers don’t receive the same training that federal agents/officers receive, and so they are hard-pressed to get the training.”

“FLETC is different because all the equipment the student learns with, they walk away with,” said Pittman.

Pittman also teaches DEASTP, RECVR, IDEA, and SCERS, along with other basic training requirements. Learning these trainings as a student and now an Instructor, Pittman recalls his astonishment as a student at FLETC, and how the trainings he received helped him become the Senior Instructor he is today.

“I think we do a very important thing here at FLETC because we are teaching people how to do law enforcement,” expressed Pittman. “I have received emails from students telling me they used the tools we taught them to help in a case and it’s great to see that my class has inspired them to go further.” 

When Pittman is not receiving emails from prior FLETC students, he can be found fishing and spending time with his wife and family.

“If I could dream of the perfect job, FLETC surpasses it because they treat you well,” said Pittman. “Another plus is my wife works here, and my sister works here now too.”