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📷 Clock by the Gannon Arch

Gannon University Opens New Forensic Investigation Center

FIC OpeningPosted: April 25, 2014

 

From the outside, the former fraternity house on Erie's W. Sixth St. is inconspicuous, but inside is a crime scene-and a laboratory, a classroom, a virtual reality simulator and more. It's all part of Gannon University's Forensic Investigation Center (FIC) that was dedicated this morning.

The FIC is an innovative building that will bring to students in Gannon University's criminal justice program an unprecedented level of technology, and training options that can lead to a wide range of careers in what is quickly becoming a technology-oriented field.

The technology will be most evident in the firearms training simulator located in the FIC's lower level. The simulator uses an interactive screen with computer software that will present students with a scenario for shoot/don't shoot decisions to hone their judgment, accuracy and timing.

The second floor will house a forensic laboratory with comparison microscopes for the analysis of fibers, firearms examination, fingerprints and questioned document examination modeled on the FBI laboratory in Washington.

Students will use the building's third floor, which is outfitted as a mock family room and bedrooms, for simulations where fabricated crimes will be created complete with evidence being placed for collection. Strategically placed cameras throughout the third floor will film these simulations.  This will allow students in a first-floor classroom to observe and discuss investigative methods and adherence to maintaining a chain of custody.

The FIC will be a true interdisciplinary facility with the biology and chemistry departments contributing knowledge about forensic analysis, computer science classes exploring the new field of exploitation analysis and theatre students getting into the act in role-playing and interrogation scenarios.

"The FIC is going to be a great resource and learning center for our criminal justice students, but we also hope to make this facility a community resource that provides training for local law enforcement agencies," said Julia M. Mack, Ph.D., director of Gannon's criminal justice department.

The FIC's first students will be in the military ordnance identification course offered in July. The FIC will also host the Criminal Investigator's Camp for high school students, July 27 to August 1.

Even the brothers of Tau Kappa Epsilon, which used the building as a fraternity house, are involved through an endowed "Power" Scholarship that was established by alumni of the Delta Chi chapter when the TKE house was sold to the University. Under the provisions of the Power Challenge the initial gift from the sale of the TKE house was matched dollar-for-dollar by Gannon.