Announcements & News

August 2007

Byrd Announces Grant funding for Marshall Forensic Science Center

Marshall University is set to benefit from more than $2 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Justice for initiatives at the Marshall University Forensic Science Center (MUFSC. The funding will support the continued development of MUFSC as a working model forensic laboratory and a resource for the national forensic community.

“I am pleased to learn of the grant funding Marshall’s Forensic Science Center received, and I am proud to be a supporter of this program that has become a leader in national forensic research, training, and service. The additional funding will help to further the university’s efforts to provide instruction in DNA testing to laboratory specialists and other members of the criminal justice system, and to test DNA samples from convicted felons from West Virginia and throughout the country. This important work is helping to put criminals behind bars,” Byrd said.

Marshall University officials were notified by the Department of Justice recently that they would receive funding for two competitive grant applications that university officials submitted earlier this year to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). Because of previous federal support Byrd has secured since Fiscal Year 1998, the Center is now in a competitive posture at the national level to obtain additional grant funding. The grant awards will help fund the Center’s education and training agenda and will help expand upon MU’s efforts to establish the National Institute of Forensic Science Education and Training.

“The Center has benefited greatly from Senator Byrd’s support and direction over many years. The grant funding that he has identified not only helps train practicing DNA analysts and crime scene investigators, but also will help prepare the next generation of forensic scientists to meet ever evolving challenges for the justice system,” said Dr. Terry Fenger, MUFSC Director.

A grant of $1.5 million will be used toward funding MUFSC’s DNA training courses that are endorsed by the NIJ. An additional grant of $510,974 will help MUFSC, in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), provide courses in the areas of crime scene investigation, crime scene photography, impression evidence analysis, and additional relevant courses.

“The availability of Marshall’s Crime Scene House provides the FBI and MU with a unique setting to conduct a variety of mock crime scene exercises which benefit forensic scientists and investigators from state and local law enforcement agencies from across the country,” Fenger added.

“I am pleased to have secured funding for Marshall’s Forensic Science Center in the past, and am proud that the Center will be able to continue to improve forensic technologies and to provide best practices for state and local crime labs throughout the nation. Also, Marshall is graduating highly trained forensic scientists whose expertise will help to solve crimes in West Virginia and across the country,” Byrd said.

The MUFSC is dedicated to providing the highest quality forensic analysis for the promotion of truth and justice throughout West Virginia and the nation. MUFSC has a unique relationship with the West Virginia State Police as the first university to partner with a state crime laboratory on developing and maintaining a Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database, the DNA database for convicted offenders. Through MUFSC’s Master of Science degree program, students have access to state-of-the-art equipment, as well as a top notch faculty. The MUFSC employs one of the most skilled DNA workforces in the country, consisting predominantly of the Center’s Forensic Science graduates.

Contact:

Jenny Thalheimer

Senator Robert C. Byrd’s Communications Office

(202) 224-3904