National Forensic and CSI Consortium established at CSU
Forensic and Crime Scene Investigation Consortium chartered to support, enhance national forensic science community Members from eight national institutions signed the official charter for the Forensic and Crime Scene Investigation Consortium this fall in Dallas, Texas.
Present at the signing were representatives from the original FCSIC member institutions:
- National Center for Biomedical Research and Training, Stephenson National Center for Security Research and Training, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La.
- W. Roger Webb Forensic Science Institute, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Okla.
- Texas Forensic Science Academy, Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, College Station, Texas
- Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility, Criminal Justice Center, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas
- Department of Criminal Justice, Charleston Southern University, Charleston, S.C.
- Criminal Justice Department, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nev.
- Center for Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, Chaminade University of Honolulu, Honolulu, Hawaii
- The Center for Rural Development, Somerset, Ky.
The idea behind this collaboration was first conceived in August 2009 with the U.S. Department of Justice report to Congress, in which a committee was tasked to identify the needs of the forensic science community.
Among the committee’s findings, highlighted in a document titled “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward,” was a surprisingly consistent message: “The forensic science system, encompassing both research and practice, has serious problems that can only be addressed by a national commitment to overhaul the current structure that supports the forensic science community in this country. This can only be done with effective leadership at the highest levels of both federal and state governments, pursuant to national standards and with a significant infusion of federal funds.”
In response to this message, the FCSIC was developed to help support a fully integrated national forensic and crime scene investigation system by developing and delivering new courses, enhancing current undergraduate and graduate programs and expanding research projects in their core competencies.
With already inadequate funding being cut even further, state and local agencies will now have the opportunity to train their employees at no additional cost through the courses delivered by the FCSIC. FCSIC courses are career-spanning, offering training for all three career levels: basic, intermediate and advanced.
The enhancement of current degree programs will provide a vibrant pool of degreed workforce applicants for the laboratories in addition to enhanced technologies and evaluative processes as a result of the research being conducted. Charleston Southern University was selected for its strength in documentation of the crime scene through various logs, photographs, cataloging of evidence and mapping utilizing various technologies.
Dr. Jackie Fish, vice president for academic affairs and former chair of the criminal justice department, has written three books sharing her expertise in crime scene documentation. “The Consortium will offer a continuing education aspect and training for people who are in the field,” said Fish. “It will enhance the educational aspect and enhance professionalism of law enforcement. There is not enough research being conducted in this field.”
Dr. Marc Embler, chair of the department of criminal justice, said the Consortium is a good fit for CSU. “Our students are interested in forensics. Our criminal justice graduate and undergraduate programs are practitioner oriented,” he said.
Charleston Southern University offers a bachelor of science in criminal justice and a master of science in criminal justice. Consortium members were selected for their broad array of competencies, extensive infrastructure and subject matter expertise, making the consortium a valuable national resource for forensic and crime scene investigation training.
Current areas of focus among the FCSIC include crime scene investigations in hazardous environments, medical investigation, facial reconstruction, forensic art, digital forensics, property and evidence management, latent print technologies, crime scene documentation, courtroom testimony, underwater forensics, trace evidence, curriculum development and instructor training.
The training, education and research the FCSIC has and is developing and delivering is important and unique in the criminal justice system because state and local agencies perform the majority of all forensic and crime scene investigations conducted in the U.S., yet there is a dire need for: mandatory training requirements; a career-spanning, standards-based training curriculum; a priority research environment, and a fully integrated U.S. forensic and crime scene investigations system.
Photo: Tom Tucker and Steve Williams, director and associate director of LSU’s National Center for Biomedical Research & Training: Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education, met with CSU personnel to fine tune CSU’s involvement in the FCSIC. Pictured: Dr. Marc Embler, Allen Fix, Tucker, Dr. Jackie Fish, Williams.