MORGANTOWN, W.Va. Improperly collecting or mishandling evidence at a crime scene can lead to evidence being thrown out, a case left unsolved and questions unanswered for a victim.
The Forensic Science Initiative at West Virginia University is offering three, full-day training sessions to WVU police officers this summer to ensure they learn the essentials of the skill. The course, “Introduction to Crime Scene Response and Evidence Collection,” was run on June 25 and will run again July 16 and Aug. 7.
“If evidence is mishandled or collected improperly, it can be inadmissible,” said Kelly Ayers, instructional coordinator for West Virginia University Forensic Science Initiative.
The West Virginia State Police Training and Professional Development Committee has approved the course to count toward the officers’ annual in-service training hours required by the state. The training is open to new and experienced officers.
“In-service training is critical to police officers so they can remain proficient in all aspects of their duties,” Ayers said.
Officers will train at the crime scene complex on the Evansdale campus of WVU, where they’ll participate in lectures, hands-on demonstrations and mock crime scene processing.
Following the crime scene processing, officers will present their findings to the rest of the members of the course.
Ayers said FSI is hoping to offer the training workshops regularly to WVU police officers and other agencies throughout the state, particularly those that may not receive training in this area beyond the academy or who do not respond to crime scenes frequently.
WVU FSI is the training, outreach and research effort of Forensic Science at WVU. Its primary mission is to provide free training and continuing education to public forensic service providers.
For more information, contact Kelly Ayers at (304) 293-0323 or Kelly.Ayers@mail.wvu.edu.