CSI: Edmond

Thirty
years ago, criminal cases did not have DNA evidence. You never saw it on
Perry Mason. Ballistic evidence and fingerprinting was
state-of-the-art, and hair evidence was cutting-edge.   

Not anymore. Science has changed the world of criminology, and has
changed the way we teach forensics. Now, Edmond is on the cutting
edge. We are known nationwide as a hub for forensic science. 

Accidental
or intentional? Very intentional. And like a complicated crime scene,
the puzzle has to be put in place one piece at a time. As the first
element, we looked at what resources Edmond held. The University of
Central Oklahoma was Oklahoma’s top university in the degree field of
forensic science. Under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Roger Webb, we
knew a partnership was possible.

Next was the collaboration between the city of Edmond, the state of
Oklahoma, local and state law enforcement, and the federal government to
fund the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Laboratory in Edmond,
Oklahoma.  With the redevelopment of this land, located very
intentionally across the street from UCO, the 80,000 square foot OSBI
lab became the catalyst for the next piece of the crime-solving
puzzle: the Forensic Science Institute.
 
Front and center, next to the main entrance of UCO’s campus, the
new 30,000 square foot Forensic Science Institute is home to some of the
brightest minds in forensics. Led by Dr. Dwight Adams, formerly of the
FBI laboratory in Quantico, experts are brought to the institute to
research cutting edge methods and technology, and to teach forensic
science.  
 
The synergy of the two is apparent. The OSBI laboratory holds the
technology for analysis of crime scenes, blood, ballistics, and much
more. Across the street, at the FSI, they can analyze digital evidence
of “cyber-crimes”, in a state-of-the-art cybercrime lab, funded in part
by AT&T.  The FSI also provides the education, and the bright minds
who are interested in the field. 
 
With these two pieces in place, the Edmond Economic Development
Authority can actively recruit to Edmond businesses that support the
growing industry of forensic science. High-paying jobs that require an
educated population – and Edmond’s population sits at more than twice
the state average when it comes to college degrees. Jobs in technical
investigation, forensic nursing and accounting and criminology are on
the rise – estimates say these jobs will increase by 19% by 2012. 
 
Additionally, pairing the Edmond Police Department with the FSI
allows for more and better training of our police officers. These two
groups are working together to benefit our Edmond citizens.    
 
What’s
the next step? The Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s office. Edmond would be a
perfect location for this new state facility. With the other pieces of
the “forensic” niche in place, it is a good fit.  The Oklahoma
legislature is expected to make a decision by end of the legislative
session in May.  Legislators recognize that Edmond has the education
base and the technology in place to provide needed assistance to the
M.E.’s office. In a time of budget crisis, the “forensic science”
synergy could allow for a savings both in time and state resources. 
 
CSI: Edmond? It’s here. And it’s growing. 
 
Patrice Douglas
Mayor

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