Training Crime Scene Investigators

Thursday, February 21st 2008, 11:44 pm
By: News On 6

The next generation of crime scene investigators is being trained in Tulsa.  News On 6 anchor Jennifer Loren reports Oklahoma is turning out some of the country's best forensic scientists.

OSU's forensic sciences program in Tulsa recently launched itself into an elite group.  The graduate program was accredited by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.  The future of CSI is right here, right now.

Eric Duvall is six months away from becoming a forensic scientist.

"Everyone's like CSI, it's so cool you know, you get to drive a hummer around and wear white pants like that guy in Miami," said Eric Duvall.

But, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that forensic science is less like the TV show and more like a lot of lab work.

Duvall is from Illinois, but chose OSU's Tulsa-based program because he also gets to do research and experiments here.  With that experience, he says he'll have no problem finding a job.

"Over the past weekend I've come across probably six, eight, 10 jobs you know, across the country that I'd be qualified to start in August," said forensic science student Eric Duvall.

One thing that sets OSU's program apart from others is all the cool tools they have, like a time of flight masspectrometer. Basically, you put an unknown substance inside and after a short, but complicated process; it tells you what it is.  And, because it's also a working lab, students have access to materials like real DNA.

Dr. Robert Allen runs OSU's program.  He says the field of forensic science is exploding in popularity, but few schools have what it takes to be accredited.

"But there's only eight of us that have gone through the microscopic examination by peers in the field to put a stamp of approval on our program.  And, we're the only one west of the Mississippi River," said Dr. Robert Allen.

This new accreditation, he says, will be good for students and great for OSU.

"And so, that prompts better students, more competitive environment, and more students that want to get into our program," said Dr. Robert Allen.

Dr. Allen says the accreditation will encourage his department to explore new areas of forensics.  He hopes OSU will now be able to make even more scientific advances in their field.