CSU joins CSI consortium

By Ashley Barker
Published Jan. 13, 2014

Charleston Southern University was one of eight national institutions to sign the charter for the Forensic and Crime Scene Investigation Consortium, which is expected to bring new forensic science courses to the campus.

The idea for the consortium was developed in August 2009, when the U.S. Department of Justice provided a report to Congress, which asked a committee to identify the needs of the forensic science community.

A document titled “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward,” said: “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.”

The consortium was developed to create new courses, enhance current undergraduate and graduate programs, and expand research projects in the core competencies, the university said.

CSU offers a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in criminal justice, and the consortium courses will offer training at basic, intermediate and advanced levels.

“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,” the university said in a news release. “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.”

Jackie Fish, vice president for academic affairs at CSU and former chair of the criminal justice department, has written three crime scene documentation books. Fish said there is not enough research being conducted in the field.

“The consortium will offer a continuing education aspect and training for people who are in the field,” Fish said in a statement. “It will enhance the educational aspect and enhance professionalism of law enforcement.”

The consortium focuses on 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, according to a news release.

Other consortium institutions include Louisiana State University, University of Central Oklahoma, Texas Forensic Science Academy of Texas A&M Engineering, Sam Houston State University, University of Nevada, Chaminade University of Honolulu and the Center for Rural Development in Somerset, Ky.

Reach Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker.

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