Special Report: Forensics at WVU Tech

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)– Forensic science is defined as the application of scientific principles and techniques to matters of criminal justice especially as relating to the collection, examination, and analysis of physical evidence.  The forensics program at WVU Tech is giving the next group of crime experts hands-on experiences. 

The Forensic Investigation program at WVU Tech is teaching soon-to-be field investigators through real-life experiences and in-depth labs.

“Our program focuses on fieldwork,” associate professor of forensic investigation Andrew Wheeler said. “That’s the key focus, we are looking to develop critical thinking and investigators, give Police officers the tools to advance as detectives and do that type of work.”

That fieldwork involves partnering with local law enforcement as extra eyes on crime scenes. Students assist in searching for evidence and notifying officers if they find something. Back on campus, students study different types of scenarios in the blood splatter and fingerprint lab.

“They’re doing a little mini-experiment here,” Wheeler said. “To look at the differences in some of the variables that may impact blood spatter and whether there is a difference or not. So this isn’t what you would see at a crime scene.”

In addition to the fingerprint and blood splatter labs at WVU Tech, students also get a hands-on experience in their very own crime scene house.

“We do mock interviews and we have set up crime scenes for them to work through and process and document those,” Wheeler added. “Having those little pieces in play gives them more comfort.”

Once students complete the program, they can move forward in pursuing a criminal justice career or continue their education into a more specialized field like dental or decomposition identification.

The 120 credit hour program focuses studies on math, science, and criminal justice practices.

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