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Lee Institute of Forensic Science Trains CT Police in Advanced Forensic Technology

Release Date:
7/26/2011 2:04 PM
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University of New Haven: Henry C Lee Instutute, features Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science

July 26, 2011

WEST HAVEN, CONN. – The Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science at the University of New Haven today announced at a luncheon for Connecticut chiefs of police a plan to provide advanced forensic evidence collection training, access to state-of-the-art forensic technology, and the expertise of specially-trained forensic consultants to state police at no cost to the departments.

The program uses two federal grants and a major equipment donation totaling more than $1.3 million to train Connecticut police in advanced forensic technology and provide them with access to the latest crime-fighting technology.

Henry C. Lee, founder of the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science, said the Institute will establish an Evidence Response Training Center and a Regional Forensic Technology Assistance Team.

“The Institute of Forensic Science is pleased to take the lead in training detectives and other criminal justice personnel to use this advanced technology and to provide expertise at no cost to the police departments,” Lee said. “Forensic science is more important than ever in solving criminal cases, and learning to use this advanced technology makes the job of the police easier and renders them more effective in the field.”

One of the most significant advantages to departments participating in the regional effort will be the ability to share forensic information from a crime scene in real time via satellite video connections with Lee and other experts at the Lee Institute, as though they were physically present at a crime scene. 

The funds also allow Lee Institute personnel to provide 80 hours of training to one or more members from police forces throughout the state to respond to crime scenes, when requested, with specialized forensics equipment and to assist in reconstruction of crime scenes as part of the regional effort to solve crimes.

“Many departments are experiencing the retirement of their most experienced and trained officers, including those in identification and crime scene units across the state,” Lee said. “A lack of personnel also means that departments may not be able to dedicate personnel for a significant amount of time to the crime scene investigation process. When cases that have not been thoroughly processed come to trial, the lack of documentation or physical evidence often has a negative effect on the criminal justice system.”

The two federal grants, awarded to purchase high-tech equipment at the Lee Institute, were funded with $800,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice.  The Lee Institute also received an IBIS Brasstrax machine from Robert A. Walsh and Forensic Technology.  The high-tech crime fighting tool collects, stores, compares, analyzes, and reports data from bullet cartridges and retails at $557,000.

The Justice Department grants make available highly technological equipment and reference databases that are too expensive for individual police departments to purchase. The police personnel also will be trained to use advanced technology at the Lee Institute including:

— A SICAR footwear/tire tread database that allows police to identify the make and model of footwear or tires, using tracks left at the scene of a crime.

— Ground-penetrating radar, useful for locating buried bodies, coffins, or other evidence such as a cache of weapons or disturbed soil.

— A Portable Raman Spectrometer that allows for rapid, accurate identification of chemicals found at a crime scene. The quick identification of unknown materials can provide investigative leads and eliminate unnecessary delay while determining if a sample is safe or if it is potentially a significant item of evidence.

— Infrared still and high-definition digital video cameras to help detect patterns, such as gunshot residue patterns on skin and clothing that may be overlooked without specialized equipment.

— A portable video detector with fiber optics, which allows police on scene to search areas inaccessible to standard cameras. The extended, flexible optic tube can reach into pipes where evidence may be hidden or extend the search capabilities at a disaster or explosion scene.

— Specialized crime scene materials and tools to help eliminate collection and storage issues and help with shooting and crime scene reconstructions.

A leader in experiential education, the University of New Haven provides its students with a valuable combination of solid liberal arts and real-world, hands-on professional training. Founded in 1920, UNH is a private, top-tier comprehensive university with an 80-acre main campus. The University has an enrollment of more than 5,900: approximately 1,700 graduate students and more than 4,200 undergraduates, 70 percent of whom reside in university housing. The University offers more than 80 undergraduate degrees and more than 25 graduate degrees through the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, the Tagliatela College of Engineering, and University College. University of New Haven students study abroad through a variety of distinctive programs.