|| Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
Public Information Director
09/29/11 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Bureau Hosts Forensic Science Research Day
Today, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation hosted a forensic science research day for scientists, professors, and students of forensic science. The event, held at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Forensic Science Institute, brought together forensic science professionals, professors and students from UCO, Oklahoma Christian University, Oklahoma State University’s College of Health Sciences Forensic Science Program, Cameron University, the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, and the Oklahoma Poison Control Center.
In Oklahoma, universities and forensic science labs are building relationships that will result in improved forensic science services to the state of Oklahoma. “Due to the volume of cases being analyzed at OSBI and other forensic labs across the state, scientists are unable to dedicate the time and resources necessary to improve the laboratory services through research and development,” Andrea Swiech, OSBI Forensic Science Center Director, says.
However, by partnering with university professors and their students, new crime-solving techniques are being developed. This partnership is mutually beneficial for the student, the university, and the forensic labs. The students are able to fulfill their master’s thesis requirements by performing the research that forensic scientists need and are working under the direction of a forensic scientist currently working in the field. The university benefits because its students are personally involved in the forensic science community, and the forensic lab is gaining the knowledge and techniques developed through the students’ research.
“The UCO Forensic Science Institute and the OSBI Forensic Science Center were intentionally located across the street from one another,” Dr. Dwight Adams, Forensic Science Institute Director, says. “Consequently, our students are able to work together with OSBI to develop forensic science techniques that enhance the crime-solving capabilities of the lab.”
Evidence of this partnership was displayed as two UCO students presented the results of their research projects. Keisha Jones, a UCO student who just defended her master’s thesis, presented her research into identifying condom brands used in sexual assaults using their unique chemical profiles. Another UCO student, Kimberly Edwards, explained how the use of image analyzing software can be used to determine firearm muzzle-to-target distances. Both of these project ideas originated in the OSBI lab. Keisha Jones explained, “The OSBI Trace evidence lab provided the idea for my research project. They expressed there was a type of analysis they would like to perform, but didn’t have the time to develop it. While working on the project, the OSBI provided the technical expertise to move the project forward when I encountered difficulty.” A third student, Kate Weinbrecht, a student at OSU-CHS, explained her research into using DNA as a tool in microbial forensics and its application to potential bioterrorism events directed toward agricultural resources.
“Today’s meeting was conducted to encourage further development of forensic science research opportunities in the state. The OSBI desires to strengthen the practice of forensic science by expanding the existing OSBI-UCO partnerships to include other forensic science labs and academic programs,” Swiech adds.