DALLAS – Members from eight nationally acclaimed institutions located across the nation came together in Dallas, TX, on Sept. 11 to sign the official charter for the Forensic and Crime Scene Investigation Consortium (FCSIC).
Present at the signing were representatives from the following 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 United States 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 entitled “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward,” was a surprisingly consistent message:
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.
Consortium members were carefully 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 1) Mandatory training requirements 2) A career-spanning, standards-based training curriculum 3) A priority research environment and 4) A fully integrated forensic and crime scene investigations system in the U.S.
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. With a well-trained forensic and crime scene investigations workforce, both domestic and internationally, the public will be safer, and society will be served more efficiently.