New Forensic Investigation Center To Be Located at Gannon University’s Former TKE House

Forensic Investigation CenterPosted: October 16, 2013

photo:  Colleen Langham for the Gannon Knight

A W. Sixth St. building that was once a fraternity house will now house Gannon University's new Forensic Investigation Center.

Renovations have already begun on the former three-story Tau Kappa Epsilon house to transform it into a multi-use Forensic Investigation Center that will include an interview and control monitor room, a firearms training simulation room, three crime-scene simulation rooms and a classroom. A functioning laboratory for the examination of evidence including firearms/ballistics, toxicology/chemistry/drug analysis, fingerprints, biology, cybersecurity among others will be a major part of the Center.

The University's criminal justice program has pursued a strong investigative focus led by Assistant Professor Jerry C. Clark, Ph.D. and Instructor David W. Martine. Prior to coming to Gannon, Clark had 27 years' experience in local and federal law enforcement, including with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).  He was the lead investigator on the "Pizza Bomber" case that gained national and worldwide attention. Martine is a 30-year career veteran of both the Central Intelligence Agency and the FBI with operational and management expertise in counterterrorism, counterintelligence, counternarcotics, forensic science and criminal investigations. He was a forensic scientist where he worked as a firearms/toolmarks expert and conducted crime scene investigations. While at the FBI, Martine worked on high-profile cases such as the assassination attempt on president Ronald Reagan, and the Jonestown incident.

The integration of theoretical and hands-on learning that will be possible in the new facility will enable undergraduate and graduate students to gain real-world, practical investigative experience, and the Center is expected to be a resource for community law enforcement agencies. Related academic programming from the biology, computer science and chemistry departments are also expected to utilize the Center.

"We're pleased to take a historic, three-story Erie building, and turn it into a significant learning center," said Julia Mack, Ph.D., director of Gannon's criminal justice program. 

"In this facility, we hope to be able to video-record role-play crime scenarios that will allow our students and participants hands-on experience, including crime scene investigations, collection of evidence and the ability to move that evidence into a laboratory environment for final investigation.  The ultimate goal is to have students work the crime scene and prepare evidence as expert witnesses for presentation in court. This facility will take us from the beginning to the final process of any crime that we choose to explore," Martine said.

Construction of the Center is expected to be completed in the Spring with the Center's facilities available for the University's popular Criminal Investigators Camp in Summer 2014.